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Archive for March, 2012

Interactive Whiteboards Benefit Autistic Students

It’s amazing to me the different benefits that interactive whiteboards can provide in the classroom.  Compared with the old green chalkboard of my youth, the interactive whiteboard is incredible!  The following article explains how the interactive whiteboard can be a captivating, engaging, educational tool for autistic students.  It has been proven that interactive whiteboards assist autistic students with social learning in a group setting.  Awesome!

As always, remember that eBeam technology is a leader in interactive whiteboards.  Check out our website for all kinds of eBeam information and great prices!  http://www.ebeamrocks.com/

The following article was found at http://www.districtadministration.com/article/whiteboards-engage-autistic-students-social-learning.

Whiteboards Engage Autistic Students in Social Learning

Although touchscreen tablets work well as personalized tools, they cannot be a replacement for interactive whiteboards, which help autistic students with social learning in a group setting.
By:
District Administration, March 2012

Since the launch of the Apple iPad, educators have touted the tool’s ability to engage special education students with autism spectrum disorder through unique, customizable applications and stimulating touchscreen technology. Many still feel, however, that although touchscreen tablets work well as personalized tools, they cannot be a replacement for interactive whiteboards, which help autistic students with social learning in a group setting.

Whiteboards began making headway in the K12 arena in 2006, and their presence in classrooms has increased exponentially ever since.

“The boards, when combined with pedagogy, improve student behavior and engagement and reduce teacher stress,” says Lisa DeRoy, education advocate with SMART Technologies. Although there are more than a dozen whiteboard manufacturers that cater to schools in the United States—such as SMART, Luidia, eInstruction, InFocus, DYMO/ Mimio and Promethean—many offer similar features to supplement analytical classroom discussion, including graphics, audio, visual support, linguistic tools, drawing capabilities and speech bubbles. Students are engaged in what they’re learning, rather than just watching.

While they also serve general education students, interactive whiteboards can captivate autistic students, who struggle with attention deficit disorder and reciprocal relationships on varying scales. “Interactive whiteboards’ multisensory tools allow students to attend through visual means,” says Kathleen McClaskey, president of EdTech Associates and a member at large of ISTE SETSIG, a special interest group on special education technology.

Whiteboards also aid in mainstreaming special education students in general education classrooms. “Sadly, students with special needs often become isolated from their peers,” says DeRoy. “Mainstream teachers are also special needs teachers. They have a classroom with a smorgasbord of student needs they have to accommodate.” McClaskey believes that the iPad works well as a personal tool but that it doesn’t further the fundamental goals of learning in a group as whiteboards do. “Kids develop a respect for each other,” says McClaskey. “They take turns and increase their attention span by nearly an hour through the visual components.”

Luidia Continues to Rock with eBeam Connect

I really believe that Luidia cares about teachers, and I think they show it continually with their products for educators.  eBeam Connect is a perfect example of this.  eBeam Connect is Luidia’s new web-based software that allows teachers and students to interact between web-enabled devices.  I guarantee this article explains eBeam Connect and it’s capabilities better than I can, so read on!  Did I mention this software is available for free?  Anyway, read on…

I found this article at http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/luidia-previews-ebeam-connect-1633056.htm

March 19, 2012 08:00 ET

Luidia Previews eBeam Connect

New Beta Program, eBeamLabs.com, Gives Public Early Access to New Products

SAN CARLOS, CA–(Marketwire – Mar 19, 2012) – Luidia, Inc., creator of interactive eBeam® technology, today announced public beta availability of eBeam Connect, a new web-based software that allows teachers and students to interact from web-enabled devices, like iPads and other tablets. eBeam Connect and other upcoming products kick off the company’s new beta program, eBeamLabs.com. The program’s mission is to give teachers and students early access to new and unreleased products so that they can provide direct feedback to Luidia’s product development team.

eBeam Connect: Browser-to-Browser and Browser-to-Whiteboard Collaboration

Available to everyone, without the need for special hardware or software, eBeam Connect provides a browser-to-browser experience, where any number of teachers and students can start or join interactive sessions to create, capture, and share content in real time. On mobile devices like iPads and Android or Windows tablets, teachers and students can utilize touch technology or a stylus to share notes and diagrams, brainstorm, and more. For example, a teacher can assign a math problem set to students, who may be working on iPads or tablet computers individually or in teams. Through eBeam Connect, the teacher can use his or her own computer to view each student’s progress in real-time by clicking through each of the user pages. In a “flipped” classroom model, eBeam Connect facilitates in-class and after-class work group sessions, allowing students, teachers, parents, and tutors to collaborate in real time from different locations or individually review notes later.

To provide a browser-to-whiteboard experience, eBeam Connect can also integrate with Luidia’s hardware products (eBeam Edge or eBeam Engage), so teachers and students are not limited by traditional communications and can take advantage of new opportunities for mobile learning and collaboration. For example, instead of copying what the teacher is putting up on the physical interactive whiteboard, students can use eBeam Connect to see and manipulate the data directly on their mobile devices or desktop computers, as well as save their work. Additionally, remote students can tap into the classroom for long-distance learning and collaboration over the Cloud.

Users can access the eBeam Connect beta immediately at eBeamLabs.com.

Luidia Reports on Technology in Schools

The following article describes a survey that was conducted by Luidia, Inc. last month to obtain information from educators about technology in schools.  It was discovered through the survey that “91% of educators cited budget/cost as a significant challenge”, and “73% want technology to increase student engagement”.  Do these statistics surprise me?  Not in the least.  In fact, I’m a little surprised that both numbers weren’t 100%.  What I do think is awesome about this article though, is that Luidia isn’t just giving us the facts, they are the ones that have a solution.  Luidia’s eBeam technology is an affordable technology solution for any school.

Check out our awesome eBeam prices at http://www.shop.ebeamrocks.com/.  Also, if you mention this blog you’ll get an additional discount on all of our eBeam products.  Take a look!

This article was found at http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/tight-budgets-arent-stopping-nations-teachers-from-bringing-interactivity-into-schools-1630988.htm.

March 13, 2012 08:00 ET

Tight Budgets Aren’t Stopping Nation’s Teachers From Bringing Interactivity Into Schools

Survey: Educators Embracing Flexible, Cost-Effective Technology to Increase Classroom Engagement

SAN CARLOS, CA–(Marketwire – Mar 13, 2012) – A survey of education professionals conducted last month by Luidia, Inc. revealed current trends about a number of hot-button issues.

Executive Summary

According to the survey’s top two findings, 91% of educators cited budget/cost as a significant challenge and 73% want technology to increase student engagement. Across the nation, schools are forced to do more with less; however, the appetite for new technology among district administrators, teachers and students remains at an all-time high. Educators are utilizing creative strategies to balance the need for new, innovative classroom technologies with the reality of tightening budgets.

More than ever, educators are looking to solutions, like Luidia’s eBeam® technology, that can help them save costs, while delivering greater interactivity for better learning outcomes. To address budget challenges, educators are proactively adopting new purchasing strategies such as:

  • Examining the total cost of ownership for technology purchases, including installation, maintenance and training.
  • Maximizing investments by purchasing technologies that can easily integrate with current tools and systems.
  • Buying portable systems that can move easily across campus so that classrooms are not split between “haves” and “have-nots.”
  • Migrating to open solutions that allow schools to remain flexible long term, instead of proprietary systems that lock users into short-sighted approaches.
  • Adopting retrofittable techologies that help schools avoid costly rip-and-replace installments.

Danielle Kazoroski has navigated budget challenges since she first accepted her position as technology associate at Quest Elementary School in Melbourne, Florida. “I cannot ignore the transformative power of technology I have witnessed across my classrooms. Even in light of tighter budgets, School Principal Elia Lea and I have made purchasing interactive technologies a high priority,” Kazoroski said. “In addition to going out into the community to do additional personal fundraising, we’ve fundamentally updated our purchasing criteria to ensure we fully maximize investments. We don’t even consider a tool unless it integrates with current technologies and existing environments, as well as demonstrates ability to adapt easily to future potential needs.”

Luidia’s interactive eBeam technology helps school districts and teachers address budget challenges by providing solutions that are open, portable and retrofit — three key differentiators that work together (and not against) schools’ current technology investments. eBeam technology products, such as the Engage, are also cost-effective and foster stronger student engagement compared to similar products on the market.

“Our survey findings match the individual conversations I’ve had in recent months with school administrators and teachers. Educators are rising to the challenge when it comes to adopting new strategies — even fundraising to get technology into classrooms,” began Jody Forehand, vice president of product planning, Luidia. “To prepare our students for an increasingly competitive and digital work environment, it’s vital for educators to have access to tools that advance student engagement and achievement.”

“Our goal at Luidia is to keep delivering affordable and flexible solutions to the market, so that budget concerns are alleviated and the interactive technology that’s making a difference can make it into the hands of teachers,” Forehand concluded.

Survey Results

91% of respondents identified budget/cost as a challenge. Other secondary barriers were:

  • Hard for teachers/administration to use (20%)
  • Proprietary systems (10%)
  • Portability (10%)
  • Difficult to install (6%)
  • Hard for students to use (3%)

73% of education professionals want technology to increase student engagement first and foremost.

  • More easily develop curriculum (9%)
  • Provide materials for continued learning (7%)
  • Correct negative behavior (1%)
  • Other (less than 1%)

73% of respondents received training on any new educational technology received in the past year; 17% received no training and 10% received no new technology.

Survey Methodology

Survey data was collected via an online survey tool in February 2012. Data was provided by 274 education professionals (teachers, administrators and other education professionals) that represent a range of school district sizes (1-26 or more schools).

Luidia Inc. is the creator of interactive eBeam® technology that helps the world capture and share content. The company’s products are utilized by organizations of all sizes, with hundreds of thousands of users across multiple industries and geographies. Luidia also partners with industry leaders, such as Chief, HP, NEC and Sony, that apply eBeam® technology in their latest products. For more information on Luidia, please visit Luidia (www.luidia.com) or on Twitter and Facebook.

U.S. Secretary of Education Talks Technology in Education

In a speech given earlier this month, Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, described the many advantages of technology in education to a large Texas audience.  I found it to be very informative, and also a little encouraging.  I believe that the United States is moving in the right direction in its efforts to provide adequate technology to students across our nation.  Please take a look!

I found the following at http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/new-platform-learning.

The New Platform for Learning

March 8, 2012

I have to confess my wife and two children think it’s pretty funny that I have been invited to talk about technology at a cutting-edge conference for innovators and entrepreneurs.

It’s an understatement to say that I grew up in a technologically-challenged household. We didn’t even have a TV when I was a kid. We were not what you would call “early-adopters.”

But I’ve changed—we all know what happens to dinosaurs—and the reason I’ve changed is that I’ve seen the tremendous transformational potential of technology in education. I really believe that technology is a game-changer in the field of education—a game-changer we desperately need to both improve achievement for all and increase equity for children and communities who have been historically underserved.

Technology is making us so much more efficient. It allows teachers to personalize education for more and more students. Teachers and students can track progress in real time and not have to guess as to what is actually being learned.

Technology offers children the opportunity to work at their own pace, pursue their own interests and passions, and provides access to more information through a cell phone than I could find as a child in an entire library.

Technology enables working adults to learn on their own schedule. It eliminates geographical barriers to knowledge.

Technology is replacing the paper and pencil, the textbook, the chalk board and the globe in the corner of the room. It will soon replace the bubble test on which so many local accountability systems are based.

It’s no exaggeration to say that technology is the new platform for learning. Technology isn’t an option that schools may or may not choose for their kids. Technological competency is a requirement for entry into the global economy—and the faster we embrace it—the more we maintain and secure our economic leadership in the 21st century.

Fortunately, there are progressive educators in school systems all across America who are finding bold and creative new ways to use technology in the classroom.
This innovation is happening in big cities, small towns, and even in entire states across the nation.

Just this week, Mark Edwards, the visionary superintendent from Mooresville, North Carolina came to our department to meet with our management team. Three years ago, he gave every student in 4th through 12th grade a laptop. Almost overnight they saw gains in school attendance—new forms of collaboration between teachers and students—and ultimately gains in reading, math and graduation rates.

Rather than the kind of whole school instruction that has been so common in public education for more than a century—his students now work in small groups and independently pursue areas of interest.

Mark describes his teachers as “roaming conductors”—circulating around the room reviewing work, challenging students, and answering questions—one-on-one.

Parents can track their children’s progress every night from home—and that’s one reason that the community strongly supported an increase in local taxes to keep the program going. And the cost was not prohibitive—about $225 dollars per student per year. Mooreville is near the bottom—100th of 115 school districts in North Carolina in terms of school funding. They actually have less to spend on each student compared to almost all other districts—they simply spend it smarter.

For a decade now, the State of Maine has also given a laptop to every middle school student. The Open High School in Utah has completely switched to digital content, and they are in the process of providing every student in grades 6-12 with a laptop.

In Florida, close to 100,000 students attend virtual schools. Idaho is the first state in the country to require students to get at least two high school credits through on-line courses, and they are phasing in laptops for all high school students and teachers. What can access to a laptop mean to a teacher? When I visited Joplin, Missouri—a community that has made an amazing comeback from a devastating tornado—one young girl told me she had never liked school before and didn’t want to come back following the tornado, until she found out that she would be given her own laptop.

Finally, when I visited the School of One in New York, I saw up to 80 students sitting in a math class working in small groups, large groups or as individuals. In this big, unstructured-looking class, you could hear a pin drop—everyone was engaged. Several teachers roam the classroom offering individualized support to the kids. We gave them a grant so they can continue this work and expand it.

We’re doing much more to encourage technology in the classroom. In 2010, we issued a comprehensive Education Technology Plan to support the broader trends in education today:

  • Aligning learning materials with the college and career-ready standards that states have voluntarily developed and adopted.
  • Engaging students by tailoring learning to their individual needs and interests and providing real-time information to teachers, parents and students themselves about student learning.
  • Connecting teachers with their peers so they can share learning materials and classroom strategies.
  • And building the infrastructure to support this learning environment, and using technology to become more productive.

Karen Cator, who is a real star on our team, led the development of this plan, and she spoke here yesterday. She served in public education for many years and then spent time at Apple. I hope you have an opportunity to talk with her because she is eager to bring your ideas to the larger education community. She is helping lead the country where we need to be.

The list of panels at this conference is evidence of both the ambition and creativity of this movement to bring technology into the classroom. It focused on assessment and digital ethics. You are talking about supporting teenage entrepreneurs and using interactive art to enhance math education. Some of you are using game design to improve STEM education—the potential there is here.

And here’s a panel that is bound to raise a few eyebrows: “Supersizing the Classroom—3000 Students and Beyond.” Now, I must say that I was relieved to see that this was not about pre-school but is in fact about how to improve those dreaded survey courses in college. Colleges across the country are both reducing costs and improving student outcomes in those introductory classes through the use of technology.

Clearly, there is a lot of creative thinking happening here, and I just want to say that we in the education community are hungry for your ideas. While the education sector has moved more slowly than many of us would have liked it, this area, this world is changing. I see that and sense that everywhere I go. Every educator wants what’s best for her students—we just have to persevere and push through some of the real barriers to entry.

K-12 education is a $650 billion dollar industry in America. Higher education puts the education sector well over a trillion dollars. This is opportunity to do well, and to do a lot of good. Unlike in many other nations, however, America education is decentralized.

We have 15,000 school districts and 95,000 public schools independently deciding how to teach and in many cases what to teach.

That’s one of the strengths of our system and a source of innovation. But decentralization can also complicate the spread of technology. I know that some of you have encountered bureaucratic obstacles in your efforts to work with school systems. Please don’t be discouraged. Kahn Academy, by creating great content and delivering it directly to young people at home, is forcing schools to change both how students learn and teachers teach in school.

School leaders today are under a lot of pressure to cope with diminishing resources and rising expectations. They don’t always see how investments in technology can save money down the road.

Thankfully, we have partnership like one with former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who are pushing states to have more tech-friendly policies.

So—just keep doing what you’re doing—and we will do all we can at the federal level to support the use of technology in education. Let me tell you some of the things we are doing already.

First of all, President Obama is deeply committed to STEM education. His goal is to create an education system that produces more people like you—with the creativity and technical skills—not only to invent new educational programs and software—but to help us lead in every other field.

We’ve created a Learning Registry to help teachers and parents discover resources on-line and learn from each other. Here in Texas alone, there are almost 900,000 users of their education portal. We have made technology a priority in competitive funding programs like our $4 billion dollar Race to the Top initiative.

And, as a nation, we have invested heavily over the last 20 years. The E-Rate program generated billions of dollars to upgrade technology infrastructure and today—virtually every school in America has some form of internet access.

Through the Recovery Act across agencies—including the Commerce Department, Department of Agriculture and the Federal Communications Commission—we have expanded broadband services to literally thousands of additional communities with the plan to connect them all by 2015. Now the FCC, which has been a great partner, is working with providers to support access to low-income children in their homes to help close the digital divide.

Insuring educational equity is at the heart of the federal role in education. That is why Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Act in 1965. Today, our two biggest pots of money target low-income students and students with disabilities—and both of them allow for investments in technology.

In Higher Education, our biggest investment is in Pell grants so low-income students can fulfill their dreams and go to college. We’ve gone from about 6 million Pell grants to 9 million Pell grants just in the last three years, above a 50% increase, and our community colleges are bursting at the seams. The only way to serve more students is by leveraging technology in innovative ways.

In so many ways, technology is a powerful force for educational equity. That fight—to give every child regardless of zip code or family background—access to a world-class education is what drives so many of us every day. Technology can level the playing field instead of tilting it against low-income, minority and rural students—who may not have laptops and iPhones at home. It gives a boost to students with disabilities and students learning to speak English. It opens doors for all students as long as we make sure that the students most in need have access.

And it helps our teachers and leaders, especially those working in our toughest schools with our most disadvantaged students, by providing them with effective lesson plans and teaching strategies that help them educate and motivate each child. We have to deprivatize public education, breakdown our hardworking teachers’ sense of isolation in their individual classrooms and open up a much better world of tools, supports, and resources for them.

Technology gives teachers the kind of professional development they have been asking for—individualized to their unique interests and needs. Today, DC and Tennessee are both using technology to create customized teacher training programs.

It gives teachers the information they need to figure out what their students need. Unfortunately, assessment in education is behind every other field from medicine to consumer behavior to sports, politics and entertainment. Everyone is getting data in real time and using it to make decisions. Education needs to stop always being the laggard, step up!

Ultimately, technology should make a teacher’s jobs easier, more marketable, and more fun—and that will make them more effective.

We talked to some teachers in a school system that just brought in new technology two months ago and they were already raving about how much time it saves.

They said their students are much more engaged. Young people see adults working in front of computers. They know that’s the future. The more that our classrooms connect to the real world, the more likely that our kids will take school seriously.

A new Canadian study confirms what we already know intuitively: when technology actively engages students it has a dramatic and positive impact on student performance.

Superintendent Edwards from Mooresville, North Carolina also talked about the sense of discovery that his students feel—that they can go on-line and talk to someone in another state or another country. My 10 year-old daughter loved the opportunity for her class to skype with a class of students in Mali.

With just one click, children go way beyond the walls of their classroom and the pages of their textbooks and the barriers in their community.

Technology-driven learning empowers students and gives them control of the content. It challenges them to think critically and make decisions—the same kinds of challenges you and I face in our work every day.

And college students who are struggling with the rising costs of college can get more and more of their material through open education resources saving thousands of dollars over the course of their college career.

Along with the Department of Labor, we have a new partnership between community colleges and the private sector to fund the creation of new curriculum for growing fields like health care and green energy—and all of the curriculum that is created will be open-source and publicly available.

I know that in this setting I’m preaching to the choir. Entrepreneurs like you are way ahead of the curve. People like Sal Kahn who has made over 2700 learning videos available and delivered to over 190 million visitors for free. Products like the ones you all are showcasing here hold the potential to transform classrooms. University partners like MIT, Yale, Tufts and the University of California are doing the same.

Learning technology can be a major export industry for America. But don’t think that other countries aren’t thinking about it. Places like China, India, Brazil and Israel are all pushing hard to bring technology into the classroom and create the products that will shape the future of education.

American entrepreneurs like you—in partnerships with the kind of teachers we have in this room today—need to own and lead the field—just as we have in so many other fields. Those of you leading start-ups are job-makers, not just job seekers. I love your creativity and bravery.

So I’m here today—not just to encourage you—but to plead with you—to invest in education and in the technologies that support learning—to push us hard and push the field hard to move in this direction—and to be our full partner in the broader effort to rebuild the American economy with education as the foundation. We have to educate our way to a better economy and we can’t get there without you.

Now—I also want to leave you with one final thought because this issue too often gets sidetracked into a silly debate over whether we need computers or teachers—when everyone knows we need both. Great teachers with access to great technology transform children’s life choices.

Next week, thousands of America’s finest musicians—guitar players, drummers, horn players and singers—will flood the City of Austin in an annual celebration of cutting-edge music and creativity. Young people from colleges and communities across America will come to watch, talk, dance, and have fun.

They’ll have cell phones, iPads, laptops, and other tools to communicate, socialize, and gather. They’ll see it live and watch on-line. The performers will chronicle their every move on social media.

Musicians today use technology in countless ways to get their shot at stardom here at South by Southwest. They download music and create band profiles on the web. They record, share and sell their music without ever leaving their bedrooms. Technology corrects their mistakes in the studio.

In fact, the music industry and other art forms like film and photography are so completely infused with technology today—and dependent on it—that it is hard to imagine them without it. Today, technology pretty much does everything for the musician except for one fundamental thing:

It can’t write a song. We have yet to invent a technology that will produce “Born to Run” or “Let it Be.”

Even if Beethoven had a computer, the Fifth Symphony would still have come from that mysterious gray matter between his ears—and it’s important to remember that as we think about the role technology plays in education.

It’s a tool to help children learn and to help teachers teach. It’s a tool to help parents stay abreast of what their children are learning. It’s a tool to hold ourselves and each other accountable—so that we can get better, smarter and faster.

At the end of the day—education and technology are about people and ideas. Why is Facebook so popular? Because it brings people together.

Why is technology so exciting? Because it tells us so much about ourselves and about others.

Why are we all here in Austin?

You could have found a lot of this information without coming to South by Southwest. But you’re here because there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. Nothing can replace the conversation that leads to inspiration or the handshake that leads to a partnership.

The future of American education undoubtedly includes a laptop on every desk and universal Internet access in every home. It definitely includes more on-line learning.

But a great teacher at the front of the classroom will still make the biggest difference in the lives of our students. All of us here can point to that great teacher who inspired us and shaped our lives.

So I urge you today to make teachers your partners and your advocates. Their voice carries a long, long way. They are the ones who will take your product from the drawing board to the classroom. They are the only ones who can make this work.

Working together, entrepreneurs and educators, like the amazing combined talent here in this room, can create a world that we can’t even imagine today.

Our kids are begging for it. They can’t wait. America can’t wait. You can and will make it happen.

Thank you.

Cool eBeam Edge Demo

The following video that I found on youtube demonstrates how to set up and begin using the eBeam Edge, literally from the point of opening the box through the actual use of the Edge for a classroom lesson.  The video is informative and easy to follow, and gives a nice overview of the eBeam Edge’s capabilities.  Take a look!

Awesome eBeam Deal!

It doesn’t get much better than this!  Right now (thru 5/31), when you buy 4 eBeam Edge, you get a free eBeam Focus 150 document camera (msrp $499)!

The eBeam Focus 150 document camera allows users to view and digitize real-world material instantly and import the content directly into eBeam Scrapbook. Capture snapshots or video of text, physical objects, and even people and import them into eBeam Scrapbook with the click of a button. The eBeam Focus 150 plugs directly into your computer’s USB 2.0 port and makes adding high-quality images and video into your lesson or presentation quick and easy.  Very cool!

Buy your eBeam Edge today at our website, http://www.shop.ebeamrocks.com/.

This March, pick a winning deal
on interactive classroom technology.

Get an eBeam Focus 150 document camera FREEEveryone wins with eBeam interactive technology. From March 1 through May 31,
buy 4 eBeam Edge® and get a free Focus 150 document camera that adds great-looking
photos and videos to your lessons with one click. Just follow these steps:

  1. Download Rebate Form »
  2. Purchase 4 eBeam Edge® Projection through an Authorized eBeam Reseller to take advantage of this limited offer.
  3. Read and complete the rebate form, then email it along with a copy of your original PO to insidesales@luidia.com or mail to:

 

Luidia Inc.
ATTN: Inside Sales – Rebate
125 Shoreway Drive, Suite D
San Carlos, CA 94070