"Software as a Service" Approach Speeds Roll Out of New System, Which
Delivers Safe, Secure Online Environment for Students and Teachers
CHICAGO, Oct. 18 /CNW/ - Chicago Public School students and teachers will
have access to the latest online technologies with Open Text(TM) Corporation's
(NASDAQ: OTEX, TSX: OTC) FirstClass messaging and collaboration software. The
district, the third largest in the United States, is deploying the technology
to its more than 400,000 students and teachers.
FirstClass will enable Chicago Public Schools to provide its students and
faculty with the benefits of advanced online communication services within a
secure, managed environment. The solution will provide the district's more
than 600 schools with advanced email capabilities for every student and
teacher, along with a comprehensive set of tools for online collaboration,
document sharing and social networking. Chicago Public Schools has received
confirmation of funding support for this initiative from the U.S. federal
government's Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund
(commonly known as "E-Rate").
"FirstClass was chosen by a panel of our teachers as the best solution
for our schools," said Maurice Woods, Deputy Chief Information Officer of
Chicago Public Schools. "We believe that our teachers can leverage the
collaboration tools within FirstClass to help engage students and to drive
student achievement in the classroom."
FirstClass solutions are uniquely designed to enhance communication,
collaboration and knowledge sharing by connecting the key stakeholders within
the education community - including students, faculty, administration,
parents, and alumni - within a managed online environment. School districts
and higher education facilities around the world use FirstClass to facilitate
online learning communities, professional development, safe social networking,
student-teacher collaboration, e-Learning, curriculum development and sharing,
ePortfolios, archiving and more. Chicago Public Schools is providing
FirstClass to teachers, school-based employees, and students.
"The issues associated with children using loosely managed public
collaboration tools and social networking websites are getting more attention
these days. As a result, determining how to provide safer online services for
students is a pressing concern for many school districts," said John Myers,
Vice President and General Manager with the FirstClass Division of Open Text.
"FirstClass offers a more secure environment that enables students to more
safely experience the benefits of online communication and collaboration."
FirstClass is being provided to Chicago Public Schools as a "Software as
a Service" (SaaS) solution. This has facilitated a fast service rollout and
significantly reduced the burden on district technology contacts, enabling
them to focus on other school needs. All back-end aspects are being managed by
Open Text in a world-class data center. Deployment of the service is well
under way, with thousands of teachers and students already using FirstClass
accounts. All Chicago Public School teachers and school-based staff will be
fully transitioned to FirstClass in November. Students will be receiving
FirstClass on a rolling basis throughout the school year.
"Our teachers and students love FirstClass because communication is
instant and efficient," said Ferdinand Wipachit, Principal of Phoenix Military
High School, a Chicago Public School. "FirstClass allows dialog and
collaboration about any topic - anytime, anywhere."
FirstClass is currently being used by thousands of schools and school
districts around the world - including four of the top ten largest school
districts in the United States. This demonstrates the scalability,
reliability, feature appeal, and cost-effectiveness FirstClass brings to a
wide range of education organizations.
Open Text announced the news today in conjunction with the National
School Boards Association (NSBA) T+L Conference being held this week in
Nashville. For more information on the NSBA's T+L Conference, go to
About Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools is the third-largest school system in the United
States and second-largest employer in Illinois, with approximately 45,000
employees. It has more than 600 elementary and high schools and more than
415,000 students. The Chicago Public Schools Information & Technology Services
manages initiatives for the district that leverage technology to improve
teaching, learning and student achievement.
About FirstClass and Open Text
Open Text(TM) is the largest independent provider of Enterprise Content
Management software and solutions. For more information, go to
www.opentext.com. The FirstClass Division of Open Text is a leading provider
of cost-effective, highly scalable, and feature-rich messaging and
collaboration solutions that enable education organizations and businesses to
connect people and content within secure online communities. Over 3,000
organizations and 9 million users worldwide are currently using FirstClass.
For more information on FirstClass, go to: http://www.firstclass.com.
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