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TOOLS FOR LEARNING - The Maker Movement Matures--3D Printing, Serious Play, and More

The universal appeal of tinkering, creating, making, playing, and learning along the way is an eternal flame that humans in search of something greater will never extinguish. In 2017, we're just getting much better at it! On that note, Victor offers up a whole host of maker movement tools and resources in this wonder-filled area of life, made to order for schools, libraries, and students to explore.
Posted 01 Dec 2017- Nov/Dec 2017 Issue By

Gaming in the Classroom: Some Research

Research on gaming in education is still in its infancy. Some of the challenges include inconsistent definitions of gaming and gamification with researchers, difficulty with creating truly random student groupings, lack of control groups, and the continuing growing field of games in education. In addition, much of the research tries to evaluate characteristics such as motivation and engagement that are difficult to objectively measure.
Posted 01 Sep 2017- Sep/Oct 2017 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING - Spirit of Play, Game-Based Learning--A Serious Look at Companies ‘Gaming the System’ for Academic Excellence

Gaming in education is big, and growing bigger, which prompts questions such as "How will serious games integrate into existing learning experiences?" and "Are they actually proven to get results?" Victor offers some thoughts from a market report, then lays out "games, games, games," plus some resources for more information.
Posted 01 Sep 2017- Sep/Oct 2017 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING - Hands-On Handheld Tools: Getting a grip on some great technology for learning

Here are somewhat physical artifacts, actual or nearly actual objects that you can pick up and use. They have some weight, they involve dexterity, they are extensions of our hands and minds, and they do well to serve us in learning and experiencing the world around us.
Posted 01 May 2017- May/June 2017 Issue By

Teaching Website Evaluation: The CRAAP Test and the Evolution of an Approach

Website evaluation is now a vital, lifelong learning skill, especially in this era of "alternative facts." Teaching it has been and remains a challenge that author Cara Berg has found California State University's CRAAP test (don't laugh!) well-suited for. Read on to learn from their experience.
Posted 01 Mar 2017- Mar/Apr 2017 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING - Reaching Out to the World: Foreign Language (and ESL) Technologies

Learning a language in an age of collaborative technologies, such as are now available with video-based and other interactive, adaptive, and personalized learning platforms, has made for a different experience! If you grew up sitting in a high school language class, try some of the tools Victor reports on and you'll see!
Posted 01 Mar 2017- Mar/Apr 2017 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING - Project-Based Learning: Engagement, Authenticity, and Collaboration on a Mission

Taking on a common task with others—collaborating in an authentic, engagement type of situation—is not merely busywork. It's either practice for real work, or real work itself! That's what project-based learning offers, and Victor offers lots of PBL-oriented resources.
Posted 01 Jan 2017- Jan/Feb 2017 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING - Open for Learning: Open Educational Resources: Ensuring Equity of Access to Education Resources for All Students

Open education, a collective term describing programs and practices that work to broaden access to learning and training traditionally offered through formal education systems, needs initiatives, open materials, and content to succeed. Victor describes the movement, a range of just such initiatives, and pathways to open educational resources in this month's Tools for Learning.
Posted 15 Nov 2016- Nov/Dec 2016 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING - Flipping Forward: An Early Pioneer Shares Successful Actions for Classroom Magic

Victor spoke with a range of luminaries—from the Flipped Learning Network, SolidProfessor, and Techsmith—plus an in-the-trenches educator to illuminate the flipped learning concept and bring you both up-to-speed and up-to-date on "The Key to Flipped Learning."
Posted 01 Sep 2016- Sep/Oct 2016 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: The Common Core and Complex Texts - Learning Experiences, Engaging Strategies, and More

The Common Core State Standards seek to "emphasize increasing the complexity of texts students read as a key element in improving reading comprehension," according to a brief issued by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governor's Association. Is it working? Victor has some thoughts, and, as usual, some tools to use.
Posted 01 May 2016- May/Jun 2016 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Building Digital Research Skills

Victor provides today's budding researcher-students with basic advice to consider before diving into a research project and with an array of online tools and resources to tap into once the project is underway.
Posted 01 Mar 2016- Mar/Apr 2016 Issue By

Meet Your Learners Where They Are: Virtualizing the School Library

As author Brenda Boyer notes, the proliferation of BYOD, 1:1 device programs, and blended and online learning opportunities for students makes it critical for school libraries to meet the challenge of providing services, resources, and instruction in virtual environments. To that end, Boyer lays out a comprehensive road map to building and maintaining that virtual environment.
Posted 01 Jan 2016- Jan/Feb 2016 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Next-Generation Learning Management–Improved Systems for an Improved Educational Experience

LMSs have come a long way. As author Victor notes, today's systems are more accommodating to social learning and collaboration and to mobile learning, allowing for course content delivery, student registration, curriculum management, assessment, reporting, and more.
Posted 01 Nov 2015- Nov/Dec 2015 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Global Outreach 2015: Tools for Tapping Into the Worldwide Classroom

Victor takes the tack that "We are not alone," given recent projections about the number of Earth-like planets out there in solar systems in our galaxy ... and other galaxies. And so, he posits, we'd better get our own house in order before making contact! To that end, he offers an updated list of internet-based tools and resources your students can tap to learn about us and our world.
Posted 14 Sep 2015- Sep/Oct 2015 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Tools and Tactics to Measure Students’ Mastery of the Common Core Standards

Like them or not, after years of development and adoption, 2014-15 marks implementation year for CCSS. In the assessment realm, there are innovative solution providers out there, many with die-hard educators among their ranks, that have toiled tirelessly toward authentically improving learning and assessment for students and teachers. Victor walks us through a range of them.
Posted 01 May 2015- May/Jun 2015 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: The Bring-Your-Own Dilemma

Student devices are enjoying widespread use in classrooms. The usage question is no longer about "how much," but about "how well." Victor's got some stats, plus views and advice from a range of educators.
Posted 01 Mar 2015- Mar/Apr 2015 Issue By

Grazing, Looping, and Skimming: Understanding Students’ Digital Habits

The digital and research habits that students learn online-in and out of school-influence their expectations for the resources they use in the course of their research. EBSCO user experience researcher Deirdre Costello and her team have delved into those habits and lay out their findings—and how they can help you as a librarian—here.
Posted 01 Jan 2015- Jan/Feb 2015 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Search, Research, and Discovery, in Life and in Learning

For you, for your colleagues, for your students, or for your own pursuits—and in celebration of research—Victor provides a variety of useful tools for learning in the areas of search, research, and discovery for life and learning.
Posted 14 Nov 2014- Nov/Dec 2014 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Mobile Learning has Gone App-Happy!: Trends and Tactics in Mobile Learning

As Victor Rivero reports, education apps account for 10.6 percent of available apps on Apple Store ... and that's 10.6 percent of a whole lot of apps! What's needed, then, is not another list of the 20 best, but a guide to the aggregators of education apps.
Posted 01 Sep 2014- Sep/Oct 2014 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Learning by Design--Common Sense, Common Core, and Tools for a STEM to STEAM Approach

With increasingly widespread adoption and integration of Common Core's Next Generation Science Standards and Visual and Performing Art Standards, and with educators seeking solutions to combine the best features in a cross-discipline approach to science and the arts, the time for STEM to STEAM has come.
Posted 01 May 2014- May/June 2014 Issue By

One-to-One Computing and Learning: Has It Lived Up to Its Expectations?

Some schools are moving into their second decade of one-to-one devices. Has this expensive and expansive educational resource lived up to the expectations? School technology director Renee Ramig points out the mixed results but then offers a blueprint on how to make it work, a goal she heartily supports.
Posted 01 Mar 2014- Mar/Apr 2014 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Teaching and Learning the Ways of Our Brave New Digital World

There's a place for digital citizenship education throughout our school experience, from elementary to post-secondary. So this month, Victor has gathered some excellent resources on the subject of teaching this timely topic. Read 'em, use 'em. It's practically an educator's digital civic duty!
Posted 01 Feb 2014- Jan/Feb 2014 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Meaningful Connections--What's New in the Social Media Sphere?

Victor offers up some excellent views on the current state and trajectory of social media in K-12 education. And he then connects you with a half dozen currently hot spaces, places, and tools you can use to leverage the concept.
Posted 06 Nov 2013- Nov/Dec 2013 Issue By

Creating a Safe Social Learning Environment to Improve Student Success

This issue focuses on social media in K-12, and this previously published article from the folks at Schoolwires so closely fit what we editors were looking for that we sought, and received, permission to republish it and expand its distribution.

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: It's a Mobile World: But Is It a Mobile World at School?

Yes, it's a mobile world. And educators see great potential with mobile technologies in transforming education. But few schools allow students to use family-owned mobile devices in the classroom.
Posted 03 Sep 2013- Sep/Oct 2013 Issue By

Interview | Tim Springer: A New Mobile Approach to the Learning Space

Tim Springer (HERO, Inc.), Don Orth (director of technology at Hillbrook School), and Chris Petrick (Bretford Manufacturing) discuss what it takes to create a mobile world for an academic setting, the issues and challenges, advice on managing the process, and the purposes behind it all.
Posted 01 Sep 2013- Sep/Oct 2013 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Digital Textbooks--Show Me the Future!

In 2010, digital textbooks accounted for just 1% of the U.S. textbook market. In 2012, it was 5.5 percent. And it's climbing. Victor offers a company-by-company look providing you with some idea of what lies ahead.
Posted 01 May 2013- May/Jun 2013 Issue By

The Etext Revolution: Rewriting the Textbook Model

Shmoop's founder and chief creative officer has some creative things to say about how the textbook industry is transforming and where the etext industry is headed. Take a look down the digital road with him.
Posted 01 May 2013- May/Jun 2013 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: What Our Schools Have in Common--Technology and Teaching to the Common Core State Standards

The Common Core offers a uniform, nationwide measure of where our students are and where they need to be, and Victor's Tools for Learning feature this month provides you with a descriptive list of companies that can help you get started.
Posted 01 Mar 2013- Mar/Apr 2013 Issue By

Effective Web-Based K–12 Common Core Tools … and They’re Free!

Worried about the Common Core State Standards? If you are a teacher, you don't have to be. Granted, it will take time and effort to adapt your teaching plans to meet these standards. But there are a lot of tools to help you do it, available right now on the web.
Posted 01 Mar 2013- Mar/Apr 2013 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Flipping Out--A New Model to Reach All Students All Ways

In this Tools for Learning feature, Victor explores some of the technologies, tools, and platforms that will enable you to succeed in implementing the new flipped classroom teaching and learning model.
Posted 01 Jan 2013- Jan/Feb 2013 Issue By

It's Never Too Late to Flip!

A firm believer in the flipped classroom model, librarian Pat Semple has developed a set of tools that allows her to optimize her time by "flipping" what are traditionally viewed as classroom tasks (lectures) with what are traditionally viewed as homework tasks (researching and writing).
Posted 01 Jan 2013- Jan/Feb 2013 Issue By

BYOD: An Opportunity Schools Cannot Afford to Miss

Project Copernicus, a BYOD initiative in Osseo Area Schools in Minnesota, provides a working model for how, and why, schools should delve into the bring-your-own-technology concept.
Posted 01 Nov 2012- Nov/Dec 2012 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: The Big Bang--Charting the Expanding Universe of Mobile Education

Under the sun, moon, and stars, there's plenty to explore when it comes to "mobile in education," and the success of BYOD as a concept is a compelling reason to start exploring
Posted 01 Nov 2012- Nov/Dec 2012 Issue By

Interview: Alan Landever--The New ‘Geek’

Instructional technologist Alan Landever, from Fort Leavenworth (Kansas) USD 207, discusses the past, present, and future of the internet at school, as well as the changes and the key barriers still left to overcome, in this Internet@Schools interview feature.
Posted 01 Sep 2012- Sep/Oct 2012 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Content Collaboration--25 Resources for Accessing (and Sharing) It All

Teachers, librarians, media specialists, and others, including students themselves, need resources for accessing and sharing it all. With search, mobile, and social networking, there's a whole lot more help out of the quicksand.
Posted 01 Sep 2012- Sep/Oct 2012 Issue By


As textbooks give way to digital content and the Common Core standards ripple outward across more than 45 states, how best to align instruction with learning goals and assessments is an issue that lingers on educators' minds. These companies understand this well and have provided tools to help.
Posted 01 May 2012- May/Jun 2012 Issue By

Why Technology Is Essential in Curriculum and Content Alignment

Compass Learning's Ann Henson asserts that a fulfilling educational experience starts with curriculum alignment and content, and that technology will play an increasingly important role in the interplay between the two.
Posted 01 May 2012- May/Jun 2012 Issue By

Interview | Watching Over Your Gaggle With Jeff Patterson

As the founder of Gaggle.Net, Jeff Patterson has led the company's technology team for the past 9 years and is well- versed in the intersection of media literacy and web security. In this interview, Victor talks tech with Jeff for Internet@Schools.
Posted 01 Mar 2012- Mar/Apr 2012 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Into the Zone--Media Literacy and Security

"Kids these days. They're in the zone," says Victor Rivero. It's a media-saturation zone he's talking about, owing to the device-saturation that's keeping kids perpetually connected. Educators must offer guidance so kids can navigate through this zone, for reasons of safety, security, and efficacy. Victor proffers the tools that can help.
Posted 01 Mar 2012- Mar/Apr 2012 Issue By

Learning Together: The Evolution of a 1:1 iPad Program

At Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, an iPad pilot initiative is exploring how a new portable technology, in the hands of teachers and students, can affect teaching and learning. Librarian Carolyn Foote describes how they are proceeding, keeping a close eye on what is working and what the impacts of the project are.
Posted 01 Jan 2012- Jan/Feb 2012 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: How to Manage All That Learning

A learning management system (LMS) is the Holy Grail of education: an online system to manage it all. In this month's Tools for Learning feature, writer Victor Rivero names a range of companies that have ventured into this territory, along with the products and services they offer.
Posted 01 Jan 2012- Jan/Feb 2012 Issue By

Interview With Julie Young: Staying Human in a Virtual School State

Julie Young is president and CEO of Florida Virtual School, now one of the largest public online school districts in the U.S. In this interview by Victor Rivero, we take a closer look at this virtual school and hear what its leader has to say about the field of virtual learning.
Posted 01 Nov 2011- Nov/Dec 2011 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: What’s New in Online Teaching and Learning? Solution Providers Improving Student Achievement

Online education is a $34 billion industry, and it has been growing by an astronomical rate. Today, says author Victor Rivero, elearning is a paradigm shift. Here are some of the companies he's identified as being on board with this 21st-century transformation.
Posted 01 Nov 2011- Nov/Dec 2011 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: An Ebook Update—The Latest Sources, Resources, and Options

The e-everything revolution charges ahead in the education realm. This month, Victor Rivero reprises and updates the discussion he started last year in his article "E Is for Explosion: E-Readers, Etextbooks, Econtent, Elearning, E-Everything."
Posted 01 Sep 2011- Sep/Oct 2011 Issue By

Electronic Resources and Etextbooks in the High School Curriculum: Creating a Flexible, Inclusive, Dynamic 21st Century Classroom

Teacher and information technology integrator Craig McMichael reports on successful efforts at his school to integrate Cengage Learning ebooks and other electronic resources into the everyday fabric of learning … largely in place of print-based textbooks.

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: We’re Talking Social Media in Education

"As fast as a trending Twitterstorm and as powerful as a flood of Facebook fans, there's a curious phenomenon moving through our schools these days: social media." Read all about the phenomenon … and the tools that comprise it … in Victor's feature.
Posted 01 May 2011- May/Jun 2011 Issue By

From Social Networking to Academic Networking … A Paradigm Shift

Teacher Tim Childers has been a social networking tools evangelist for quite some time now. Here he reports on why and how, plus what tools he's leveraged, what barriers he's surmounted, and how you can do the same.
Posted 01 May 2011- May/Jun 2011 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Thirty-Three Excellent Professional Development Resources for Teachers

The professional development scene for teachers has advanced to the point that the web is a true gift to educators. Here are some excellent online professional development resources to help move you toward a 21 st-century classroom.
Posted 01 Mar 2011- Mar/Apr 2011 Issue By

The Hybrid Learning Community: A 21st-Century Teaching and Reform Model

Practically all education reform models use some form of learning community, each of which has benefits and drawbacks. But School Loop's Mark Gross writes that it's possible to use technology to create a hybrid learning community virtually that compensates for real-world problems.
Posted 01 Mar 2011- Mar/Apr 2011 Issue By

How Google Works: Are Search Engines Really Dumb and Why Should Educators Care?

Given their popularity with students, knowing more about how search engines such as Google work is vital to understanding information access in a digital age.
Posted 01 Jan 2011- Jan/Feb 2011 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Connected and Engaged

Online. Blended. Mobile. 21 st-century. Collaborative. Project-based. Any way you label it, learning is changing. We're now settling into an exciting new paradigm of connected, engaged learning. To get a sense of all this, take a look at the sites, services, and resources we've noted right here in this article.
Posted 01 Jan 2011- Jan/Feb 2011 Issue By

Checking Out the iPad: A Pilot Project Tests the Hot New Tech Tool

Just carry an iPad into a restaurant or a school library and see how much attention you get! It's a device everyone wants to get their hands on, touch, and play with. But just what are its strengths and weaknesses as a teaching and learning tool in schools? That's what author Carolyn Foote and her colleagues wanted to find out in their district. Read on to learn about their ongoing iPad pilot project at Foote's high school research center as they examine whether the devices are helpful in a school and/or library environment.
Posted 01 Nov 2010- Nov/Dec 2010 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Libraries Get Social—Social Media, That Is!

There's a quiet—or not so quiet—shift happening in school libraries across America. The social media revolution—reflected in all manner of shiny iPhone apps, blogs, Nings, Facebook pages, and other social networking tools, sites, and platforms—is real, and it's running like a loud line of students straight through the stacks, into the common areas, taking a sharp turn, and heading right on up to the teacher librarian/media specialist's desk. Are you ready for it? In this article, Victor Rivero addresses issues, answers, and resources to help.
Posted 29 Oct 2010- Nov/Dec 2010 Issue By

Online Tools for Research—Elementary and Middle School Style

One of the most challenging areas in education today is helping students navigate through the ever-increasing world of information. There are many estimates out there on how fast the internet is growing, but everyone agrees it is the fastest-growing technology humankind has ever created! To get a handle on this 21st-century repository of information, librarians, teachers, and students need to harness the power and flexibility of the more-powerful, flexible, and varied online tools being developed … tools that can help them find, evaluate, and organize the megaloads of information out there. This applies not only to high school students but to younger students as well.
Posted 01 Sep 2010- Sep/Oct 2010 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: 21st Century Learning in 2010--A Global Imperative

In this article, Victor Rivero draws on educators' and educational technology product developers' thinking that he picked up during a visit to this summer's ISTE conference. Victor cruised the show, talking with attendees and presenters, as well as with representatives from organizations such as the Partnership for 21st-Century Skills and The Software & Information Industry Association, to get their opinions on 21st century education.
Posted 01 Sep 2010- Sep/Oct 2010 Issue By

Four Competencies for a 21st-Century Education and How to Implement Them

In this article, well-known educator and administrator Dr. Rudy Crew, former chief of the New York City school system and former superintendent of the Miami-Dade County school system, explains his four competencies for a 21st century education as well as why addressing them will help every student graduate high school fully equipped to face a world that will demand the highest level of skill and experience as a well-rounded individual.
Posted 01 Sep 2010- Sep/Oct 2010 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Student Response Systems

Student response systems, also called "clickers," are handheld devices that help teachers poll students during class sessions and tabulate the responses. This technology is the same as that used when audiences are asked to vote on something during a television quiz program. The advantages of student response systems include increasing student involvement and allowing rapid and accurate assessment of understanding, knowledge, or interest. In this month's roundup, author Charles Doe provides a look at a representative sampling of these systems.
Posted 01 Jul 2010- Jul/Aug 2010 Issue By

Security in a Web 2.0-Based Educational Environment: Issues and Answers—Part 2

Part 1 of this article, which appeared in the May/June issue, looked at a range of safety and security issues affecting educators as we all strive to attain the vision enunciated at the beginning of that feature. Part 2 addresses universal digital media safety and literacy education as well as targeted youth risk online prevention.
Posted 01 Jul 2010- Jul/Aug 2010 Issue By

The Etext in Action: Two Examples

For this story, Victor researched and describes a couple of real-life ways in which curriculum content is moving in the direction of an all-electronic format. He looks first at a school district's move to acquire interactive, digital textbooks from publishers in place of traditional paper-based books. Then he discusses Discovery Education's adaptation of its rich content into digital "basal textbook" format—but "basal textbooks" like you've never seen before!
Posted 01 Jul 2010- Jul/Aug 2010 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: E Is for Explosion: E-Readers, Etextbooks, Econtent, Elearning, E-Everything

In "E Is for Explosion …" Victor Rivero sets the scene with an overview of recent happenings in the world of e-reading devices as well as etexts, then focuses in on more than 15 kinds of electronic texts and content and their producers/providers.
Posted 01 Jul 2010- Jul/Aug 2010 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Safety, Security, and Access

In this age of technology-enabled openness, how much protecting is too much? And, going further, if our students are completely isolated from the benefits of the information age, will they ever learn? In this month's Tools for Learning feature, Victor Rivero examines some products, services, and solutions that address the question "How can our students stay safe and secure while simultaneously getting access to rich learning resources—and continue to fall in love with learning?"
Posted 01 May 2010- May/Jun 2010 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Subscription Websites

Subscription web services for education offer a fascinating variety of products and approaches for teachers, parents, students, and school systems. Some services provide grade book and student information systems, others offer assessment and learning management platforms, and some feature classroom resources including lesson plans, videos, digital tools, activities, and games. This article takes a look at a representative sampling of subscription-based websites that are appropriate for use in K-12 classrooms.
Posted 01 May 2010- May/Jun 2010 Issue By

Security in a Web 2.0-Based Educational Environment: Issues and Answers—Part 1

It's clear that concerns about internet risk and the ineffective way in which schools are now trying to manage internet use are a major barrier to moving schools forward to embrace 21st-century learning environments. Nancy Willard says it's time for schools to address these issues in a more comprehensive manner. In this two-part article (Part 2 will appear in the next issue), she outlines how cyber-savvy schools can embrace the future.
Posted 01 May 2010- May/Jun 2010 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Online Learning Communities/Learning Management Systems

An online learning community is a place designed to help users achieve learning goals of some sort through collaborative partnerships, including varying degrees of social networking and internet-based and computer-mediated communication. Charlie Doe takes a look this month at some of the more formal versions of online learning communities—often called learning management systems (LMSs)—which are usually developed by professors or teachers to achieve academic goals via web-based services.
Posted 01 Mar 2010- Mar/Apr 2010 Issue By

Empowering Students for Life: Research Skills in the Age of Testing

In this age of easy access to Google, standardized testing, and AP curriculums, why should we teach research skills? Don't students "know everything" about research and the web? Hardly! Carolyn Foote has a lot to say about this, and even more about why teaching research skills counts for even more today than in the past. What we're striving for, she says, is student empowerment.
Posted 01 Mar 2010- Mar/Apr 2010 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Technology-Based Professional Development

With online learning growing by a rate of 30% over the past few years, according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, once-lonely and isolated education professionals are now taking advantage of tech-based tools and platforms and connecting like never before. From self-paced courses, product training, instructional seminars, and real-time information resources to video segments and streaming content, educators have plenty of ways to hone up on just about anything.
Posted 01 Mar 2010- Mar/Apr 2010 Issue By

Educational Networking: The Role of Web 2.0 in Education

The advent of the internet and Web 2.0 has significantly changed our relationship to information and personal learning opportunities outside of formal education, notes author Steve Hargadon. The technology that took this amazing change and multiplied it tenfold is an underlying theme of Hargadon's article, which ranges across social networking, Web 2.0, the emergence of educational networking, and what he sees as the first real area of significant adoption for educational networking: professional development for educators.
Posted 01 Mar 2010- Mar/Apr 2010 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Interactive Whiteboards

In a year's time, Charlie Doe's district has placed interactive whiteboards in about 30% of their elementary classrooms and, in doing so, has made interactive whiteboard technology the envy of the district. That sparked his interest, so for this roundup, he takes a brief look at several products that offer a variety of approaches, from full whiteboards to equipment that makes a standard dry-erase whiteboard become interactive.
Posted 01 Jan 2010- Jan/Feb 2010 Issue By

Using Technology to Drive Innovative Teaching and Learning: The Evolution of Reading and Language Arts

Educators have begun to shun the monolithic basal approach to teaching reading, opting for a more robust mix of specialized print and technology-based resources that provide intensive, dynamic, motivating methods that children embrace and enjoy. These print and technology tools must use student data as a cornerstone of an approach that intensifies and individualizes instruction. Find out more from Lexia Learning's Bob McCabe.
Posted 01 Jan 2010- Jan/Feb 2010 Issue By

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Assessment Tools

According to the SIIA's Vision K-20 survey, the lowest level for its Five Measures of Progress is in the use of technology-based assessment tools, with an average score of just 46%. Clearly, there's room for improvement! And since knowing more about these tools is a good first step to using them to your advantage, Victor Rivero brings you a sampling of some of the more recent excellent products and services you may find useful when it comes to gaining much-needed assistance with assessment.
Posted 01 Jan 2010- Jan/Feb 2010 Issue By

Beaming the World Into Our Schools: Getting Into Interactive Videoconferencing

There is an economical way to introduce videoconferencing that involves inexpensive laptop computers and programs such as iChat, Skype, and ooVoo. A technology integration plan shared by a few pioneering districts in the author's area proves this point. Through it, schools have been able to make a serious commitment to the "new wave" of interactive technology at a minimal cost.
Posted 01 Jan 2010- Jan/Feb 2010 Issue By

A LOOK AT... Teacher Tools

The constant development of new and evolving internet and electronic technologies has resulted in the creation of an exciting variety of teacher tools for classroom use. The related changing nature of culture and the way students learn these days makes it imperative to adopt these digital tools in our schools. This article takes a look at a sampling of new or updated software, web-based services, and hardware that can be very useful in a variety of learning situations.
Posted 01 Nov 2009- Nov/Dec 2009 Issue By

The K–12 Online Evolution: 21st-Century Solutions for 21st-Century Learning

An increasing number of K-12 academic institutions are going online, changing the way they teach in response to how today's students today want to learn. Industry organizations such as the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) believe online learning is revolutionizing global education, and those academic institutions with strong elearning strategies will advance to help prepare students to reach their full potential in a digital age. Today's students want more options when it comes to education, and online learning is providing new opportunities for universal access to the best possible education for all students, regardless of ability, background, income level, or geography.
Posted 01 Nov 2009- Nov/Dec 2009 Issue By

Virtual Worlds for Kids—Good Fun, Good Educational Value

Sonja Plummer-Morgan and Lisa Neal-Shaw are public librarians from Maine who have explored the use of virtual worlds with very young—and not-so-very young—children. They have found sites very helpful in encouraging curiosity and enabling tech-learning behaviors such as online communication, collaboration, composition, traditional as well as 21st-century literacies, and more, to the extent that we wanted to share their insights with our readers in K–12 education settings.

Social Media in the Classroom—For Kindergartners (!) Through High Schoolers [Available Full-Text, Free]

Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, MySpace, Ning: How do we help our students learn the social skills needed to understand what it really means to live and participate in a global community? How do we incorporate this into our schools and classrooms? How do we keep ourselves and our students safe? Social networking sites are mainstream media for many tweens, teens, and adults. There are even social networking sites that attract kids as young as 5 years old. This is the reality of the world we live in, and schools should reflect this reality.
Posted 01 Nov 2009- Nov/Dec 2009 Issue By

A LOOK AT... Digital Photography in School

Looking at the world around us, it seems clear that digital photography and video are here to stay—and they should be used in K–12 education. Equipment prices have dropped significantly; cameras and other digital devices can be placed in students’ hands without concern. In this article, Charlie Doe takes a look at some of the possibilities for the classroom and media center.
Posted 01 Sep 2009- Sep/Oct 2009 Issue By

Social Networking Through Your Library Automation System: What Librarians and Vendors Have to Say

A year ago, Barbara Fiehn wrote in Multimedia & Internet@Schools about the emergence of social networking features being added to school library automation systems. At the time, Follett’s Destiny was the leader among school automation vendors in implementing the social networking or Web 2.0 features, and some schools and media specialists were getting on board. A good deal has transpired in the ensuing year. So here’s an update based on a user survey Barbara did as well as information from interviews she conducted with vendors at the recent American Library Association (ALA) conference in July 2009.
Posted 01 Sep 2009- Sep/Oct 2009 Issue By

Internet2 and School Libraries: The Time Is Now (More Than Ever)

Does the word Internet2 conjure images of a mythical realm off-limits to the masses of web-surfing plebeians? A forbidding place where computer engineers and the academic research elite speak in esoteric computer programming dialects and move terabytes of data through big pipes at the speed of light? At Horace Mann Elementary School in West Allis, Wis., Internet2 is helping transform the school library into the heart of digitally enabled innovation and learning. So what is the real Internet2, and why does it matter to K–12 schools and libraries? James Werle and Louis Fox have the answers!

The Collaborative Mind: Tools for 21st-Century Learning [Available Full-Text, Free]

Collaboration is one of the defining characteristics of the 21st century, but many educators are still searching for ways to embrace this idea in their schools. Some technologies facilitate the creation of a collaborative learning environment better than others, but there are a number of technology tools that can lead to collaborative student and teacher engagement while also addressing budgetary and infrastructure issues. This article offers suggestions for overcoming barriers using simple tools that foster complex thinking.
Posted 01 Sep 2009- Sep/Oct 2009 Issue By

A LOOK AT... Language Arts Resources

As in nearly every other subject area, digital resources for language arts are changing and exploding into a dizzying array of materials. Currently, the number of technology-based language arts resources is so extensive that this article can only scratch at the surface in an examination of these compelling programs and platforms. In this roundup, Charls Doe takes a look at some reading and writing applications, as well some online tool programs and a couple examples of podcasting hardware.
Posted 01 Jul 2009- Jul/Aug 2009 Issue By

Libraries for a Postliterate Society

Any number of recent studies are concluding that reading is declining, primarily the reading of novels and longer works of nonfiction. Pundits are remarking that online reading is changing their personal reading behaviors. Doug Johnson infers from this and other observations that we are rapidly becoming a "postliterate society." In Doug's feature, you can find out just what he means by that, and learn how libraries can serve this postliterate society.
Posted 01 Jul 2009- Jul/Aug 2009 Issue By

Online Professional Development 2009 [Available Full-Text, Free]

According to experts Joellen Killion and Cheryl Williams, in order to reflect the current research, to change teaching practice, and to increase student achievement, professional development must be ongoing, job-embedded, relevant to the teacher’s instructional needs, and collaborative in nature. The advent of quality online professional learning combined with in-person, peer-based professional learning communities has enabled this approach to professional development to have the greatest success for increasing teaching quality and student learning. Read on to learn more of Killion's and Williams’ assessment of the PD scene.

A LOOK AT... Data Management and Analysis Systems

Today, everything from the school lunch program to attendance rosters, telephone operations, and more can be handled by computer systems. And, of course, more and more student assessment can be managed (or at least scored) with computers, generating data results that can be used for additional software manipulation. Data management systems are developing enormous amounts of information that can be stored and then combined and additionally analyzed (or “mined” or “drilled”) for data-driven instructional leadership. This roundup takes a look at several products with different approaches to data-driven decision making.
Posted 01 May 2009- May/Jun 2009 Issue By

Using Games and Simulations in the Classroom

A new, free white paper—"Best Practices for Using Games & Simulations in the Classroom"—that tackles the practical challenges teachers face when they use video games was released this past February by the Software & Information Industry Association's Education Division. In this article, Lee Wilson, the author of the paper and the co-chair of the working group that produced it, summarizes, excerpts from, and describes the main points of the report.
Posted 01 May 2009- May/Jun 2009 Issue By

Partnering With the Public Library on Web 2.0 Tools for Student Research

Today, Web 2.0 tools make collaboration easier than ever, and your public librarian is there to help you navigate through them. While public libraries have many focuses, resources for children and teenagers are a mainstay of their programs and materials. These librarians work with the same students you do, just after school—helping with homework, research papers, and math problems, as well as finding the perfect novel for a historical fiction assignment. Why not work together during the school day? This collaboration can help you assist students to understand the Web 2.0 tools that can make research fun and invigorating, and it gives you a chance to share the workload.

Curriki and the Open Educational Resources Movement: Please Pass the Curriculum! [Available Full-Text, Free]

Sharing knowledge: In some form or another, it’s why most educators went into teaching in the first place. But traditional instructional materials don’t lend themselves to sharing between educators. New technologies now allow teachers to share and collaborate locally and globally in ways that generations past could never have imagined. These tools signal what may grow to be true disruptive change in how schools acquire and disseminate instructional and professional development resources. The nonprofit ( is a 3-year-old organization that offers a large collection of free and open source content and collaboration tools.
Posted 01 May 2009- May/Jun 2009 Issue By

A LOOK AT... Mobile Devices

A mobile device—also known as a hand-held device, handheld computer, ultrasmall laptop, tablet, palmtop, or simply a handheld—is a small, very mobile computing device. Many mobile devices have features that make them especially useful tools for educators, teachers, administrators, students, and others. This article will take a brief look at some examples of ultramobile PCs, handhelds, probeware, portable gaming devices, and digital media players that could be useful in an education setting.
Posted 01 Mar 2009- Mar/Apr 2009 Issue By

After School in the Library Media Center

For one afternoon every week, Bob Hassett’s middle school library becomes a gamer’s paradise. Free snacks, loud music, Guitar Hero, and Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi. But even though it’s very much about gaming and hanging out, there’s so much more to it than that. Check out Bob’s feature to see what all the fun … and learning … is about.
Posted 01 Mar 2009- Mar/Apr 2009 Issue By

Celebrating 21st-Century Learning at the International Student Media Festival

It’s a celebration of creative learning through technology. It’s a day filled with minds-on, hands-on, collaborative learning experiences. It’s a mini-Oscar event, complete with red carpet, lights, and paparazzi. It’s the 34th annual International Student Media Festival. Read all about it in Johanna Riddle's report.
Posted 01 Mar 2009- Mar/Apr 2009 Issue By

The TIGed Program: A Model for Taking Classrooms Global

Online “global classrooms” empower educators to leverage the power of social networking to create curriculum that is more interdisciplinary, more effective, and more relevant to students’ lives. The global classroom represents the future of learning—and the future is now! This article offers a nuts-and-bolts guide for developing a global classroom, using TakingITGlobal’s “virtual classroom” platform as a model. It begins by describing TakingITGlobal for Educators, or TIGed, and how it works; it then offers a step-by-step guide for educators who want to establish or modify their own online global classrooms.

Cool Tools for Content Creation: More Than Blogs or Wikis [Available Full-Text, Free]

We live in a Web 2.0 world where everyone is capable of creating content and sharing it, not just accessing what someone else has created and shared. Tools to create content are now readily and freely (or somewhat inexpensively) available to the general population. Content creation tools can aid in instruction and teaching, providing another avenue for students to access and learn material. Want some ideas and products to play/teach with? Read on as Karen Klapperstuck and Robert Lackie provide you with a great rundown and roundup.

A Look At … ESL Resources

There are many approaches—and many acronyms—related to ESL studies. Whichever approach or aspect is being considered, ESL resources have increased enormously with the introduction of computer and related electronic technologies. Charles Doe’s article offers some examples of the many fine possibilities available, with a mention of some of their more interesting features.
Posted 01 Jan 2009- Jan/Feb 2009 Issue By

EBooks and 21st Century Learning

The potential of ebooks in schools can be forecast by the sheer popularity of ebooks in society in general. Over the last 5 years, ebooks are the only book publishing segment consistently showing double-digit sales increases. Why should librarians and other educators jump on this bandwagon? Twenty-first-century school libraries really must provide the tools and resources students need to develop technology and information literacy. Read Deborah McKenzie’s feature to learn more.
Posted 01 Jan 2009- Jan/Feb 2009 Issue By

Video on the Web: The Basics

Most likely, your students discovered YouTube a couple of years ago. You and your teacher colleagues probably have too by now—hence those silly video emails saved in your inbox. Did you know that you can use video in schools and libraries to enhance teaching and learning? This article provides an overview of the web video phenomenon: what it is; why it’s great for teachers, librarians, and students; what tools you need; and a bit of how-to as well.
Posted 01 Jan 2009- Jan/Feb 2009 Issue By

Global Projects and Digital Tools That Make Students Global Learners [Available Full-Text, Free]

Today’s students are truly digital learners. Outside of school they are texting, using cell phones, creating social networks on the internet, and playing interactive games online; they often do all of these things at the same time—multitasking. They expect to use some of these tools when they are in school. Teachers can create new learning opportunities for students and turn classrooms into the 21st-century global classroom when they integrate technology into the learning environment. Read on to learn from Sheila Gersh just how teachers can begin to create such environments.

A LOOK AT ... Elementary Resources

Resources or tools that facilitate elementary classroom processes but aren’t major curriculum or textbook components can take at least three forms: tools that help teachers with their daily work; materials (software or electronics) that can be used for learning centers with individual students or small groups of learners; and online or electronic materials and software that support the curriculum or help teaching in some other way. This article takes a look at a few examples of new technology-based possibilities for elementary education. Several of the items mentioned here can be used across grades K–12, but they are well-worth considering in an elementary resources context.
Posted 01 Nov 2008- Nov/Dec 2008 Issue By

Database News: What’s New, and Interactive, in the World of K–12 Content

With Web 2.0, the number and functionality of fee-based and free interactive electronic resources available for K–12 classrooms have grown and changed tremendously in the last 5 years. In this article, the sixth in Robert Congleton's series of reviews, he looks at four websites he found particularly notable for the interactive programs they offer. These are programs that can be integrated into K–12 classrooms either as part of the curriculum or as learning supplements. One is a fee-based database while the others are free to use but require user registration.

Internet2 and K–12—New Resources and Opportunities

Though it may have gone unnoticed by most K–12 users of Internet2, in the 2 years since the publication of Erika Miller’s article, “Internet2, K–12 and Librarians,” in the September/October 2006 issue of MultiMedia & Internet@Schools, the available bandwidth for this powerful network has increased dramatically. Now capable of moving along at 100 gigabits per second, Internet2 (I2) provides powerful new potential for the research and education communities to take advantage of an ever-increasing range of options for high-speed applications that change the way students and educators learn and teach.

Educational Gaming—From Edutainment to Bona Fide 21st-Century Teaching Tool [Available Full-Text, Free]

Of our 53 million K–12 students, 51 million of them (or 93%) play video games, and neither that number nor the value the games they play should be dismissed. After all, these days there are games being produced by “a new crop of entrepreneur-developers who believe that today’s games must be anchored in more specific pedagogical design principles. They also believe that to stand the test of time, today’s games must not only engage but teach ,” says author and game developer Ntiedo Etuk. Read on. Find out more.
Posted 01 Nov 2008- Nov/Dec 2008 Issue By

A Look At … Document Cameras

Document cameras—sometimes called visual presenters—are among the most exciting current technologies available to assist teachers in presenting formal or informal lessons. These devices can take the place of overhead projectors. They offer an array of helpful functions and features—and should be found on every teacher’s desk in every classroom. In this issue's "Look At ... " roundup, Charlie Doe takes a look at examples of document camera technology offered by a variety of companies.
Posted 01 Sep 2008- Sep/Oct 2008 Issue By

Virtual Environments and K–12 Education: A Tour of the Possibilities—Part 2

In the July/August issue of MMIS, Kelly Czarnecki started her "tour of the possibilities" of using virtual environments in K-12 education with a look at two projects based on/in Teen Second Life—Science in Second Life, and Suffern Middle School in Second Life. Here's the rest of the tour, visting Whyville, the River City Project, Quest Atlantis, and McClarin's Adventures.

Adapting Social Networking to Address 21st-Century Skills

From using Twitter to encourage short story writing to utilizing Delicious to organize professional development tips and favorite articles, the number of social networking tools and websites is increasing exponentially. We know educators use these 21st-century tools with students in all grade levels. The question remains, how­ever, whether and how these tools might be used to positively affect student understanding and achievement. "Yes," says ePals' Tim DiScipio, "these tools, when chosen thoughtfully, implemented appropriately, and combined with innovative pedagogy through internet-connected communities, can teach students the skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century and expand their ability to communicate and collaborate in a global marketplace." Read on, learn more!
Posted 01 Sep 2008- Sep/Oct 2008 Issue By

Social Networking and Your Library OPAC! [Available Full-Text, Free]

While many schools are blocking access to social networking applications on the internet, school library automation OPACs are beginning to provide such applications to students and staff. Barbara Fiehn talked with some library automation vendors and others about this emerging trend to see what they're up to, and with some school library media specialists to gain some insight to their hesitations and acceptance. Read on to see what she learned.
Posted 01 Sep 2008- Sep/Oct 2008 Issue By

Why We Need to Teach 21st Century Skills—And How to Do It [Available Full-Text, Free]

According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the skills we need to be teaching include the following: information, media literacy, and communication skills; thinking and problem-solving; interpersonal, collaborative, and self-direction skills; global awareness; economic and business literacy, including entrepreneurial skills; and civic literacy. While the context in which our schools operate today has changed, the goals have not. We can look at these 21st-century skills as an extension of efforts that date as far back as John Dewey at the turn of the previous century. The key difference is that today we have a new set of tools to apply to the tasks. Moreover, the changing economy makes it more of a necessity that our students can use technology to solve problems, collaborate, and create. Learn more on this subject in this article by Adobe Systems' Bob Regan.
Posted 01 Jul 2008- Jul/Aug 2008 Issue By

Virtual Environments and K–12 Education: A Tour of the Possibilities—Part 1

The 2007 edition of the Horizon Report by the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative predicted that in 2 to 3 years, virtual worlds will greatly impact teaching, learning, and creative expression. These scalable and highly creative environments are being used by educators all over the country in a variety of settings and in a variety of ways. This article offers a look at projects using virtual worlds that are currently “happening” in K–12 schools, what we’re learning from them, and what we can continue to learn by charging full steam ahead with these fascinating educational tools.

We Can Get There From Here: Realizing Educational Technology’s Potential in the Face of Internet Safety Issues

In this article, cybersafety education promoter Art Wolinsky offers some historical perspective and context on internet safety and technology integration, with, ultimately, an optimistic view and a plan for success in both areas.
Posted 01 Jul 2008- Jul/Aug 2008 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Virtual Science in the Digital Age

New and developing technologies are producing a wealth of wonderful resources for science instruction. These include everything from virtual experiments delivered via software or the internet to probeware and data loggers—and a number of interesting and useful devices in between. This roundup takes a look at a variety of science programs and tools, with a focus on what’s available and what’s interesting. The goal is to introduce some new possibilities for classroom use, not to provide a comprehensive review of this category of learning tools.
Posted 01 Jul 2008- Jul/Aug 2008 Issue By

The Real and the Virtual: Intersecting Communities at the Library [Available Full-Text, Free]

"Building community" is a powerful phrase and a tremendous responsibility for a library, and even more powerful is the experience of stepping back and seeing the community grow as a result of what you are doing to create new groups of people and new ways to share and discover information. As the technology education librarian for teens and youth at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) in North Carolina, Kelly Czarnecki believes creating virtual communities is an important aspect of this responsibility as participation in online communities is driven by advances in technology. Find out why, and how, in her article.

Are Textbooks Becoming Extinct? Welcome to the Age of the Wikitext!

Imagine if textbooks were alive … living, changing, evolving, and improving … never out-of-date! … a textbook that would give students images, videos, and interactive tutorials about a subject, a vocabulary word, or a topic … a digital textbook that would be student-driven, a model for differentiated learning, and geared toward helping all students learn through visualization, interaction, and simulation. In the age of Web 2.0, all this and much more is possible. And it’s all at our students’ fingertips with just a click of a button. Welcome to the “Age of the Wikitext!”
Posted 01 May 2008- May/Jun 2008 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Projects and Publishing

Teachers have been looking for alternatives to standard written book reports and other student reports for years, often combining them with art projects for more visual presentations. Some exciting new possibilities have been created as a result of more powerful computers, increased internet use, the development of inexpensive digital and video cameras, new software, and other technologies. Read Charles Doe’s latest “Look At … ” report to learn more.
Posted 01 May 2008- May/Jun 2008 Issue By

Copyright in a Social World

Just when you thought you understood how to fully integrate internet learning into your curriculum, along comes Web 2.0, the “social side” of the internet where people can communicate with others and contribute their own content. As a librarian you should be able to communicate with students, parents, and teachers the issues that they face when placing materials on Web 2.0 social networks, and one of the big ones is copyright. This article looks at several situations in which library users may use popular social networking sites and confront copyright laws.

A LOOK AT ... Literacy and Writing Resources

Among the most fascinating developments in language arts technologies are those driven by programs often called “engines.” This article takes a quick drive around the block to examine some of these engines, beginning with those found in web-based programs. The cruise then continues with a quick view of some interesting new web and CD-based software, as well as some computer-related devices using other developing technologies. The final stops on the tour will be some interesting and useful electronic devices for language arts learning.
Posted 01 Mar 2008- Mar/Apr 2008 Issue By

Bridging the Gap: Tools for Elearning

In this article, Aline Soules discusses some current options for media specialists who want to adopt elearning tools and makes some suggestions about how to keep up … because, as she notes, "the pointers that will help you today will be old hat tomorrow and obsolete the day after."
Posted 01 Mar 2008- Mar/Apr 2008 Issue By

Widgets and Widgetry for Librarians: Copy, Paste, and Relax [Available Full-Text, Free]

Students can easily overlook websites that aren’t filled with often changing content. Do you think you’re too busy to devote time and effort to attract users to the great resources available on your library website? If you can simply copy and paste, think again! With no coding skills you can set up your websites to continually display fresh content. Read how in Aaron Schmidt's article.
Posted 01 Mar 2008- Mar/Apr 2008 Issue By

Is That ReallyTrue? Urban Legends and Information Evaluation Skills

These days, students are inundated by information in all formats and from all corners of the world, and they are apt to believe what they see, hear, or read without carefully evaluating it. At her school, Debra Gniewek and her colleagues frequently review website evaluation strategies with students and even have some “quick and dirty” methods to help them develop information evaluation skills. Still, they find the students are sometimes too trusting of the information they find on the World Wide Web. To address the problem, they created a unit in which the students study urban legends, which has proven useful in helping them look at information with a more critical eye. The students are genuinely drawn to this modern folklore, one that illustrates the most profound fears of society.
Posted 01 Jan 2008- Jan/Feb 2008 Issue By

The Power of RSS: Instant Information Updating Based on Quality Searches

RSS allows you to keep up with just about anything that you want to on the web. If you want to stay focused on the latest blog posts on the effect of global warming, RSS can help. If you just want to be updated whenever The New York Times publishes its latest book review, RSS can help. And, if you want to know when the next Dave Barry column appears, RSS can help. The greatest part of RSS is that it can do all of this in one place, without your needing to parade all over the web looking for the new content. RSS is a continuously updated customized online newspaper, and it can not only help you in locating new information (in fact, the content comes to you, not vice versa), but it can help you do it in a quarter of the time.
Posted 01 Jan 2008- Jan/Feb 2008 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Supplemental Classroom Electronics

Remember folder games and puzzles? Teachers have always used instructional aids of one kind or another to supplement instruction, such as calculators in Math class, games, puzzles, math aids, and other devices for small group or individual work. In recent years, computers and computer-related electronics such as MP3 players, hand-held devices, keyboards, projectors, whiteboards, and a diverse collection of additional electronic instructional aids have become available. Charlie Doe's Look At ... roundup this month sorts these supplemental electronics into categories and describes an array of them for your information.
Posted 01 Jan 2008- Jan/Feb 2008 Issue By

The Summer Travel Blog: A 2.0 Travelogue to Bridge Summer “Down Time” [Available Full-Text, Free]

Do you still remember the thrill of receiving a summer postcard from your teacher? How exciting it was to open the mailbox and find that personal piece of mail waiting—and to realize that your teacher was thinking of you. Perhaps the photograph on the face of the card led you to the encyclopedia to learn more about a particular place, while a handwritten line or two described a cultural experience, unusual food, or new language. Travel postcards, sent by thoughtful teachers over the years, have broadened the world of many a child. Yesterday’s postcards have gone high-tech. Weblogs, or blogs, enable today’s teachers to send a new kind of post, sharing their travel experiences as they unfold. Blogs provide an up-to-the-minute opportunity for teachers to continue to educate their students through semester breaks, to interact with their school communities, and to share experiences and locales that encourage understanding of the broader world. And those 21st century postcards come complete with the ability to upload and publish journal entries, photos, slideshows, audio, video, and educational links.
Posted 01 Jan 2008- Jan/Feb 2008 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... The Podcasting Phenomenon

The speed at which podcasting is spreading is phenomenal! This versatile technology is entering the educational arena almost as fast as it entered the technology mainstream a while ago. Podcasts allow students and teachers to easily share information. An absent student can download the podcast of a recorded lesson. Teachers or administrators can communicate curriculum, assignments, and other information with parents and the community. Both video and audio podcasts offer a new and fresh way of presenting reports. In this month's Look At ... roundup, Charlie Doe gives you the what, the how, and the why of this phenomenon.
Posted 01 Nov 2007- Nov/Dec 2007 Issue By

Online-Learning Communities: The Next Generation of Professional Development

With the growth of Web technologies, the availability of high-quality professional development for educators has increased significantly. There are numerous benefits to professional development for educators, including increased job satisfaction, career advancement, better pay, and improved student learning. However, there are significant challenges that often impede them from pursuing opportunities that will contribute to their growth, such as convenience and affordability. Professional development delivered in an online-learning environment removes many of the constraints associated with traditional forms of professional development.
Posted 01 Nov 2007- Nov/Dec 2007 Issue By

Virtually a New Way of Learning: Video and Simulations as Teaching Tools [Available Full-Text, Free]

With end-of-grade, back-to-basics, multiple-choice testing for the masses and mechanical instruction methods, there’s growing concern that children are not learning to problem solve as much as they are mastering memorization of isolated facts in order to answer test questions. Yet, when they get home from school, children eagerly devour new information and concepts through the virtual environments of video games. In what I call a stealth-learning environment, children develop skills that connect and manipulate information in the virtual worlds of video games without really knowing that they’re learning.
Posted 01 Nov 2007- Nov/Dec 2007 Issue By

A LOOK AT … Presentation Systems: The Whiteboard Grows Up

Presentation systems are an exciting and expanding mixture of educational tools growing from computer, projection, and other technologies. The systems examined in this article are built around interactive whiteboards, devices that interpret projected surfaces and interact with a computer desktop. This article takes a look at some complete presentation systems and their components.
Posted 01 Sep 2007- Sep/Oct 2007 Issue By

School Library Automation Revisited—2007!

Northern Illinois University library science professor Barbara Fiehn is back again, reporting on library automation for the school media community. This year, after working hard with an automation system to gain some new perspectives, she talked to other users—see her survey results—and to the vendors.
Posted 01 Sep 2007- Sep/Oct 2007 Issue By

Database News: What’s There, and What’s Coming Up, in the World of K–12 Content, Part 5

In this article, Part 5 of his series of reviews, Robert Congleton continues his conversations with representatives of vendors--in this case, ePals, LearningExpress, and Teen Health & Wellness--about how they are addressing the growing K–12 classroom reliance on electronic resources, the products they currently offer, and what new resources they plan to release in the near future. The article also describes updates on enhancements and new products that have been released in the last year by five of the vendors previously reviewed in this series: Gale, Greenwood Electronic Media,, World Book, Grolier Online/Scholastic, Inc.

Tapping the Tools of Teen Culture in the LMC [Available Full-Text, Free]

While our students might be able to click through Web sites with ease and change the layouts of their MySpace profiles in the blink of an eye, there are still many things we can teach them about the read/write Web. There are also many ways we can teach our students using the read/write Web. Underlying these opportunities is the possibility to use the read/write Web to discuss the issues of authorship, authenticity, and the production of information—all topics for rich discussions of information literacy. This article provides a review of some of the best online tools you can use to excite teachers and to prepare students to be active agents in today’s participatory culture.
Posted 01 Sep 2007- Sep/Oct 2007 Issue By

I See, I Do: Persuasive Messages and Visual Literacy

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a few images can constitute a persuasive argument. Consider the impact of propaganda posters, of billboards, and of photojournalism. Creators of visual images leverage visual art principles to convey messages. In order to convince the viewer of a specific idea, mass media producers who understand the language and connotations of visual literacy can manipulate images to elicit desired responses—a strategy that is used increasingly with the advent of digital tools. Particularly in this electronic age, students need to know and apply technological visual principles and skills to become critical visual consumers and producers.

A LOOK AT ... Writing Software and Webware in the Age of Social Computing

The “social networking” generation is writing, and this writing is important to them. Schools must find a way to merge these informal writing activities with the writing activities found in classrooms. It’s possible that the use of social networking technologies with classroom writing programs could make writing in school interesting enough to motivate students to tackle the more formal writing needed for college, business, and other activities in adult life. Charles Doe's latest "Look At ... " article examines some of the software and Webware possibilities inspired by social computing as well as some of the newer computer- and Internet-based writing tools.
Posted 01 Jul 2007- Jul/Aug 2007 Issue By

Mashups and Other New or Improved Collaborative Social Software Tool

Blogs, wikis, social software, Web 2.0—it’s not really about the technologies but about the method of collaboration between users that presents some of the more interesting advantages. The goal of authors Robert Lackie and Robert Terrio in this article is to continue the discussions of practical Web 2.0 tools and social networking sites that have been brought up in this magazine and at recent school librarian conferences and to highlight other collaborative tools and exciting developments in free Web 2.0 social software, items they categorize as “Useful Collaborative Tools” and “Practical Mashups”—both very exciting and practical for today’s teacher-librarian!

Take a Field Trip Without Leaving the Classroom: Museums, Zoos, and Interactive Videoconferencing [Available Full-Text, Free]

Educational videoconferencing has come a long way over the years. It started out very slowly, and, in recent years, there has been a burst of interest on the part of museums and zoos in providing their educational programs via this medium. As schools find it more difficult and more expensive to take their students on physical field trips, students are missing out on the phenomenal resources that these cultural institutions have to offer. When gas prices began to rise, local museums found that even schools in the neighborhood were unwilling to spend their precious fuel budgets bussing students off-site. Those in the museum community chose to take this as a sign that they should begin to promote their distance learning efforts.

Building Enthusiasm for a New Library

Sarah Cooper teaches at an independent school where a new library is being built. “Once this facility opens in September 2007, we want our students and teachers to use it as an intellectual hub for innovative research projects,” she writes. In this article, she describes the successful methods and tactics she and her team are using to make sure this happens.
Posted 01 May 2007- May/Jun 2007 Issue By

A LOOK AT... Administrative and Counseling Software and Webware

Charles Doe's Look At ... this month surveys software that includes student management systems featuring record keeping, scheduling, and other similar tasks; teacher evaluations; online learning environments; communications (usually email); grades and grade books; reporting; and more.
Posted 01 May 2007- May/Jun 2007 Issue By

Building Student Data Literacy: An Essential Critical-Thinking Skill for the 21st Century

Traditionally, we have defined literacy as the ability to read and write. However, 21st-century literacy has moved beyond that into the realm of possessing the critical-thinking skills necessary to delve into information or data and figure out what it really means. Students need the ability to synthesize and evaluate data and to create new information and knowledge after they have determined its quality. To prepare our students to be informed, successful citizens, we must teach them to see beyond numbers and simple functions. They must have the skills to evaluate and analyze the data put before them. In other words, they must also be data-literate. Dr. Glenda Gunter offers strategies for building data literacy and a great deal more in her article.
Posted 01 May 2007- May/Jun 2007 Issue By

Cyberbullies, Online Predators, and What to Do About Them

You’ve read the news articles, seen the stories on TV news, or possibly heard them on the radio: Bullies have gone online, predators are lurking everywhere, and MySpace is a nightmare for kids and teens. What the media doesn’t tell you are the facts about how kids and teens can stay safe online. They tend to focus on the sensationalism and not the realism. Now you can learn what to look out for, what to advise parents about, and how to help students who may be experiencing problems online.
Posted 01 May 2007- May/Jun 2007 Issue By

Collaboration in Today’s Classrooms: New Web Tools Change the Game [Available Full-Text, Free]

Technology is playing a key role in various types of communication within the classroom today, changing the way communication takes place in a way that is having a real impact on learning. A different breed of technology, leveraging the power of simplistic Web 2.0 design principles, is proving to finally break through with a real impact on students and teachers. Technology such as online learning communities is proving to offer a more dynamic learning experience, with direct benefit to students and teachers. It’s a refreshing change for educators who have struggled with the complexity, cost, and practicality of the last generation of technology tools.
Posted 01 May 2007- May/Jun 2007 Issue By

School Librarians Help Students Achieve: Here’s the Evidence!

In an article originally published in The Golden Key, the journal of the Hawaii Association of School Librarians (HASL), in fall 2006, Violet Harada, of the University of Hawaii’s Library and Information Science Program, and her colleagues write on a collaborative venture to further librarians’ roles in assessment of learning.

A LOOK AT ... Secondary-Level Software and Webware

Moving right along, Charlie switches from last issue's Look At ... Elementary-Level Software and Webware to secondary-level materials this time ... "everything from exciting new software for video-editing tasks that weren’t really possible in high schools 20 years ago to extraordinary subscription databases," plus "Web-based courseware that is becoming larger and larger in scope, more sophisticated assessment tools, and some programs with intriguing electronic delivery methods."
Posted 01 Mar 2007- Mar/Apr 2007 Issue By

Library Resources: A Critical Component to Online Learning [Available Full-Text, Free]

As online learning has become commonplace at universities throughout the country, the option is now being explored to a greater degree by teachers and administrators at the secondary and elementary levels. Nancy Rohland-Heinrich and Brian Jensen take you through the state of the art of online learning in this feature, with special emphasis on the role of media specialists in supporting and furthering it.

A LOOK AT ... Elementary-Level Software and Webware

This article begins with a look at some examples of the excellent smaller, more narrowly focused elementary programs available on CD and moves on to examples of some of the outstanding, more far-reaching programs available via the Web or a network of some type. As usual, Charlie Doe has the category covered in this latest roundup.
Posted 01 Jan 2007- Jan/Feb 2007 Issue By as the Librarian’s Assistant for Book Analysis

While you might not have noticed,’s online bookstore section is supplying some excellent reading analysis resources that can be useful for teachers and students. Using its online abilities for providing more information than a regular “in-person” bookstore can, has added extra features to the information that it provides about its books. Terry Cavanaugh takes you through these features in his article, and shows you many useful ways to press them into service.
Posted 01 Jan 2007- Jan/Feb 2007 Issue By

Creating a Broadcasting Empire … From the Corner of Your Classroom!

Podcasting is emerging as one of those technological diamonds in the rough that has the potential to reshape the way we look at the Internet, mass media, and ourselves. With a multimedia computer, easy-to-use recording software, and some storage space on the Internet, everyone can build a podcasting production center of their very own. Podcasting is headed for a classroom near you, so read Dan Schmit's feature to be ready for it!
Posted 01 Jan 2007- Jan/Feb 2007 Issue By

An Author in Every Classroom [Available Full-Text, Free]

Multimedia online technologies now offer an unprecedented ability to enable every student, teacher, and even every family to "meet" the authors of books they are reading. If you have ever seen an author speak or have hosted authors in your school, you have experienced the impact meeting an author has on a personal relationship to a book. It humanizes the book, it reveals the person and personality that created it, and more. This article highlights specific ways you can replicate these personal connections to authors and illustrators by optimizing a variety of multimedia and online technologies.
Posted 01 Jan 2007- Jan/Feb 2007 Issue By

Library Automation in K–12: A 2006 Update, Part 2

Last year, in her two-part series, “The Voice of the Vendors: Futures in School Library Automation, Parts 1 and 2,” Barbara Fiehn shared the results of her conversations with Follett, Sagebrush, Companion Corp., Dynix, Mandarin Library Automation, The Library Corporation (TLC), Innovative Interfaces, Inc., and Sirsi Corp. This year, she is once again touching base with as many of these companies as she can to find out what’s new and compelling in the market in general and in their offerings in particular. Here, in Part 2 of her Library Automation in K–12 Update 2006, she introduces Softlink and provide news since her earlier coverage of Follett Corp.—including its acquisition of Sagebrush's library automation products—SirsiDynix, and Mandarin Library Automation, Inc.
Posted 01 Nov 2006- Nov/Dec 2006 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Web-Based Assessment

Online or Web-based assessments are growing in number and variety. The amazing growth in the number and use of Web-based assessments is being spurred by their enormous advantages. Scoring and reporting is nearly instantaneous; results are available to teachers and administrators soon after test completion. Student feedback also can be nearly instantaneous and part of the learning process when the assessment is used as part of ongoing instruction. This article takes a look at a number of K–12 Web-based assessments to provide examples and to discuss as many different types of quality assessments as possible.
Posted 01 Nov 2006- Nov/Dec 2006 Issue By

DATABASE NEWS: What's There, and What's Coming Up, in the World of K–12 Content, Part 4

In part 4 of his series on database vendors, author Robert Congleton describes updates on enhancements and new products that have been released in the last year by seven of the vendors reviewed in parts 1 and 2 of the series: Greenwood Electronic Media, netTrekker, NewsBank, ProQuest Information and Learning, Thomson Gale, H.W. Wilson, and World Book.

Web 2.0 and Its Technologies for Collaborative Library Communication [Available Full-Text, Free]

A mystifying or vague buzzword to many, Web 2.0 was made fashionable in late 2004 by O'Reilly Media, the foremost publisher of computer technology books and a leader in cutting edge online technology conferences. This article will provide an introduction to Web 2.0 for libraries and will also attempt to bring to light a few notable, free Web-based interactive communication tools that can help librarians and other educators seamlessly access, create, organize, and disseminate information for their library, themselves, colleagues, and friends. The resources mentioned and the re­ferences and recommended readings provided should bring librarians up-to-speed on little-known and newer techniques, tools, and thinking on this crucial topic.
Posted 01 Nov 2006- Nov/Dec 2006 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Lively Language Arts--The Digital Age Invades the English Classroom

New and exciting uses of digital technology in language arts are appearing all the time—a very good thing in view of the digital nature of the lives of today's K–12 students. As we all know, the amount of time that students spend with television, cell phones, iPods, gaming technologies, the Internet, computers, and other electronic technologies is stunning. Fortunately, emerging digital technologies can help language arts teachers liven up their classes, making them more digitally relevant and keeping or regaining student attention. This article takes a look at some Web-based programs and some new hardware that may provide new ideas for your language arts classroom.
Posted 01 Sep 2006- Sep/Oct 2006 Issue By

Library Automation in K–12: A 2006 Update, Part 1

Last year, in her two-part series, “The Voice of the Vendors: Futures in School Library Automation, Parts 1 and 2,” Barbara Fiehn shared the results of her conversations with Follett, Sagebrush, Companion Corp., Dynix, Mandarin Library Automation, The Library Corporation (TLC), Innovative Interfaces, Inc., and Sirsi Corp. This year, she is once again touching base with as many of these companies as she can to find out what’s new and compelling in the market in general and in their offerings in particular. Barbara also identified several other important players in the K–12 automation market—Book Systems, Library Soft, and Surpass—and has added discussions of their products and services. Here, in Part 1 of her Library Automation in K–12 Update 2006, she covers these three companies and notes what’s new at Innovative Interfaces, Sagebrush, and TLC.
Posted 01 Sep 2006- Sep/Oct 2006 Issue By

DATABASE NEWS: What’s There, and What’s Coming Up, in the World of K–12 Content, Part 3

In part 3 of his series on database vendors, author Robert Congleton reports on three companies he is covering for the first time--Encyclopaedia Britannica, Grolier Online, and TeachingBooks--and on enhancements and new products from three of the vendors reviewed in parts 1 and 2 of the series: ABC-CLIO Schools, EBSCO Publishing, and Facts On File.

Internet2, K-12, and Librarians [Available Full-Text, Free]

Internet2 allows unprecedented worldwide communication and collaboration on data sharing, and provides an invaluable opportunity for K–12 teachers and students. In the year and a half since her school district has been connected with Internet2, author Erika Thickman Miller has begun to explore a small part of its capacity—a taste, she says, that has made her feel she has opened a book of wonderful new adventures, and that she feels compelled both to share and to further explore.

Mobile Computing Goes to School: Cutting-Edge Technology, Dollars, and Common Sense

Exciting new mobile computer technologies are moving into K–12 education on many fronts. Today, teachers can work with portable media players, audience response systems, smartphones, portable keyboards/small laptops, tablet PCs, laptops, and hand-held devices (personal digital assistants, or PDAs). All of these sport the latest in wireless and other technologies, and all vary widely—and wildly—in function, potential, and cost. This article takes a look at seven types of currently available mobile technologies.
Posted 01 Jul 2006- July/Aug 2006 Issue By

Social Networking, Part 2: A Toolkit for Teachers

Helping school colleagues keep up with technology trends is a function library media specialists are well-placed to fulfill. It's also a function that can further underscore the importance of the LMS at school. With that in mind, we've turned to Nancy Willard, prominent—perhaps even ubiquitous—spokesperson on the subject of online safety in the face of new Internet technologies. Nancy's feature gives you in-depth ammunition, understanding, and resources to press into service to help your staff and entire school community cope with all aspects of this important new technology trend.
Posted 01 Jul 2006- July/Aug 2006 Issue By

The Work of the ALA Task Force on School Libraries [Available Full-Text, Free]

Students do better academically in schools that have good libraries, but reports of the elimination of school librarians and library programs keep surfacing. This and other negative trends led the ALA to respond to “the urgent need to support and maintain school library programs and certified school librarians” by forming a Special Task Force on School Libraries last year. Read about the work that’s been accomplished in Task Force member Katherine Lowe’s article.
Posted 01 Jul 2006- July/Aug 2006 Issue By

The Changing Face of the Scholarly Web: Finding Free, Quality, Full-Text Articles, Books, and More! [Available Full-Text, Free]

The scholarly Web is getting noticed more because of new digitization initiatives underway and the enormous publicity search leaders are receiving for their fledgling work. Many librarians and researchers seem to be pleasantly surprised by the continually changing face of the scholarly Web and its freely available quality full-text offerings. This article brings together pertinent resources on the free Web of interest to anyone, including librarians and other educators, who conducts research and would like to easily supplement their currently available holdings, in print and electronic formats and via commercial vendors’ fee-based subscription databases, within their own libraries.

A LOOK AT ... Marvelous Math Products

Math, computers, and the Internet make a wonderful combination that seems to be producing better, more effective, and more interesting math educational materials every day. Internet technology—driven by speedy DSL access, increasing flexibility of use, and a large (and growing) potential audience—is providing an exciting forum for the development of some really outstanding math resources. Charlie Doe takes a look at the territory in this math roundup.
Posted 01 May 2006- May/June 2006 Issue By

Moodle: A Free, Easy, and Constructivist Online Learning Tool

Moodle is a free, open source course management system software package that is designed to help educators create quality online content and a collaborative, interactive environment to support their classroom courses. It's been in use at the author's school, the National Cathedral School (NCS) in Washington, D.C., for 3 years and there has been tremendous growth in its use over those years. Athena Maikish describes the software and the many ways they're pressing it into service, from creating interactive physics homework quizzes to promoting a paperless classroom and applying technology to increase productivity.
Posted 01 May 2006- May/June 2006 Issue By

The Potential of Gaming on K–12 Education

Instead of students thinking through adventure plots for their game avatar, says Patrick Greene, educators are interested in having students learn to think through real-life adventure plots that will help them acquire the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that will help them to become successful in life. Invoking the work of the likes of Roger Schank, Chris Dede, and Bernie Dodge, Greene discusses the evolution of online gaming/simulations to where it meets these educators' aspirations.
Posted 01 May 2006- May/June 2006 Issue By

Social Networking: A New Tech Tool and a New Security Concern for Teens and Schools [Available Full-Text, Free]

Student usage of social networking sites sites has become one of the hottest tech issues for schools this year. Clearly, social networking presents challenges for schools, and Joanne Barrett's article will help you understand the phenomenon--what it is; what it means for kids, parents, and teachers; what the benefits can be, what dangers it poses, and more.
Posted 01 May 2006- May/June 2006 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Digital Cameras, Visual Literacy, and the Xbox Generation

Charles Doe discusses digital cameras and provides an overview of some of what is available in this installment of our LOOK At ... series of features.
Posted 01 Mar 2006- Mar/Apr 2006 Issue By

Helping Students Make the Jump to University Level Research

Many students experience "library anxiety" when making the switch from high school to college. While school librarians do an excellent job teaching information literacy skills to their students, they may find themselves asking, "What other skills are important for my students to learn before they leave high school, and what resources are available for them?" Having worked for years as a librarian and with librarians in school and academic settings, the authors offer solid advice and ideas for school librarians to help students bridge the gap between the high school library and academic libraries.

Bookbinders: Fusing Technology, Image, and Literature [Available Full-Text, Free]

In this article, Johanna Riddle offers four elementary-level projects that use technology as the mortar of interdisciplinary and inter-literacy learning. Some of the technology applications are as simple as scanning an image or clicking a digital camera. All four of these projects spring from works of literature that are common to most school media centers. They follow a framework that includes introducing a work of literature, learning a technology process, providing reading and working time, self-evaluation, and group discussion of outcomes The communication skills garnered by the students build on each other from project to project and year to year.
Posted 01 Mar 2006- Mar/Apr 2006 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Scanning into the Digital Age

Charlie Doe covers scanners in this "Look At ...," discussing how they can be effectively used and what you need to know about them to make an informed buying decision, then describing an array of scanners from "basic" to "multi-function."
Posted 01 Jan 2006- Jan/Feb 2006 Issue By

Library Media Specialists and the Future: A Conversation with Ken Haycock

In her newly published book Super Searchers Go to School, Joyce Kasman Valenza interviews a dozen prominent K–12 educators and educator-librarians who share their strategies for helping students become effective, lifelong information users. In this excerpt, Joyce elicits wisdom that points the way toward a successful future for K–12 libraries from Ken Haycock, whose impressive professional experience includes being a school librarian; principal; school board president; president of the American Association of School Librarians; and, currently, director of the school of library and information science at San Jose State University.

You CAN Get That National Board Certification!

In this feature, board certified media specialist Jan Ross convincingly and helpfully lays out the whats, whys, and how tos you need to know in order to obtain your own Certification for School Library Media Specialists.
Posted 01 Jan 2006- Jan/Feb 2006 Issue By

A Thousand Words: Promoting Teachers' Visual Literacy Skills [Available Full-Text, Free]

How can teachers help students develop visual literacy skills that complement and deepen phonemic literacy? How can teachers help students develop critical thinking skills so they can analyze, reflect upon, evaluate, and make inferences from the images they see and not be the passive recipients of visual information? The answer in part is for teachers themselves to develop the conceptual, instructional, and technical skills so that they feel comfortable incorporating visual learning into traditional learning. Mary Burns' article discusses a series of professional development activities that can help.
Posted 01 Jan 2006- Jan/Feb 2006 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Building the Perfect computer Lab

Charlie Doe looks at everything from computers, projectors, and printers to curriculum, tool, and security software in his latest Look At ... roundup.
Posted 01 Nov 2005- Nov/Dec 2005 Issue By

You've Got Data: Using Collected Data with Success

Lori Callister focuses on how assessment data can enable you "to make decisions that support student growth and make real and lasting improvements in [your] schools." A sidebar, "Leveraging Data for Learning: Resources and Further Examples," presents six more assessment data-use success stories.
Posted 01 Nov 2005- Nov/Dec 2005 Issue By

What's a Wiki? A Powerful Collaborative Tool for Teaching and Learning. That's What!

Will Richardson, supervisor of instructional technology at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Fleming, N.J., and now a well-known speaker on cutting-edge educational uses of the Web, has written a book to be published by Corwin Press in February 2006 entitled An Educator's Guide to Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Cool New Tools That Are Transforming the Classroom. This article is adapted from a chapter of that book, with permission from the publisher.
Posted 01 Nov 2005- Nov/Dec 2005 Issue By

Digging into Databases--Using Databases to Inspire Novel Approaches to Creating Curriculum [Available Full-Text, Free]

Databases can inspire novel approaches to creating curriculum. As teachers become familiar with them, their thinking about lesson planning and student research often moves in innovative directions. In this article, Sarah Cooper describes five projects through which librarians can take the lead in helping history and English teachers see the potential of this new world of sources. Included is coverage of database resources from Accessible Archives, Country Watch, EBSCO, Gale, JSTOR, LexisNexis, NewsBank, The OED Online, and ProQuest.
Posted 01 Nov 2005- Nov/Dec 2005 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Products for Science Teachers

The very nature of science as an ever-changing discipline requires timely and updated tools to deliver instruction within the science classroom. Technology programs provide the perfect solution to engage today’s students in scientific inquiry. This article covers science software in the categories of standards-driven teaching, simulations, inquiry, and science tools.
Posted 01 Sep 2005- Sep/Oct 2005 Issue By

Technology and Textbooks: Cutting-Edge Early Literacy Technology

This article examines a sampling of cutting-edge early literacy products for a variety of uses: full curriculum, limited computer access, adaptive computer-based instruction, large and Web-based programs, Reading + Writing and ESL, and home or school. Keep in mind that this is not an attempt to cover the entire category; these programs were selected as good examples of their types.
Posted 01 Sep 2005- Sep/Oct 2005 Issue By

Streaming Video: Why to Do It, How to Do It, and Where to Get It

Librarian Jan Ross learned to understand and appreciate streaming video when her school became a pilot site for a program to implement video streaming in instruction. Her article offers information, advice, resources, and more for those of you who want to take advantage of the very effective medium of video on demand.
Posted 01 Sep 2005- Sep/Oct 2005 Issue By

Visual Learning: Using Images to Focus Attention, Evoke Emotions, and Enrich Learning [Available Full-Text, Free]

In this story, Mike Lambert and Margaret Carpenter, educators at Hong Kong International School, outline a range of approaches that “harness the power of images” in their teaching. Among the article subheads: Digitize ... Then Verbalize; Iconize ... Then They’ll Memorize; Use Visual Prompts to Encourage Creativity and Lateral Thinking. There’s also a sidebar of some brief stories from vendors whose products tap into visual learning.

A LOOK AT... Products for Math Teachers

Math teachers and their students have a huge number of instructional, testing, tutorial, and other materials available in a bewildering array of formats. Programs and services are offered as software for personal computers or hand-held devices, on stand-alone handhelds and calculators, and as Web-based subscription services. This article takes a look at some of the instructional, testing, and tutorial software or Web-based programs and services for math teaching.
Posted 01 Jul 2005- Jul/Aug 2005 Issue By

The Voice of the Vendors: Futures in School Library Automation, Part 2

This article—Part 2 of Barbara Fiehn's two-part series on a group of library systems vendors that are active in the K–12 realm—reflects interviews with vendors who work with a wide range of library environments: Mandarin Library Automation, The Library Corporation (TLC), Innovative Interfaces, and Sirsi Corporation were asked to talk about current and future developments in library automation.
Posted 01 Jul 2005- Jul/Aug 2005 Issue By

DATABASE NEWS: What’s There and What’s Coming Up in the World of K–12 Content, Part 2

In Part 2 of his Database News series, Robert Congleton looks at the products offered by Facts On File, Greenwood Electronic Publishing, netTrekker, NewsBank, and World Book.

E-Book Resources for the School Library [Available Full-Text, Free]

For this article, Audrey Church surveyed a number of e-book providers about their offerings to demonstrate the breadth and depth of the free and fee-based e-book content that's available today, as well as the sophisticated ways that content can be presented, searched, and otherwise worked with. Read on to see what's available from Project Gutenberg, Great Books Online, International Children's Digital Library, Gale Virtual Reference Library, Greenwood Publishing Group-eBooks, Follett Library Resource Company, Questia, and more.
Posted 01 Jul 2005- Jul/Aug 2005 Issue By

Job Security: Keeping a Licensed Library Media Specialist at Your School

School administrator Scott Hannon sets forth ways and means for building a strong partnership between the library media specialist and the principal, which he sees as the cornerstone of an effective library media program. "If both parties--the principal and the LMS--'get it,'" he writes, "then we have the beginnings of a good relationship. Together, these two people comprise a powerful partnership that can take a school to new heights, maybe greatness."
Posted 01 May 2005- May/Jun 2005 Issue By

The Voice of the Vendors: Futures in School Library Automation, Part 1

For this article, author Dr. Barbara Fiehn spoke with four vendors—Follett, Sagebrush, Companion Corp., and Dynix—to determine what, in their estimation, would be "coming soon," what would be coming "within five years," what the salient trends to watch might be, and what else mattered in the world of library automation for K-12. (Note that she’ll be speaking with another group of auto­mation vendors for their perspectives in Part 2 of this story, for the July/August 2005 issue.)
Posted 01 May 2005- May/Jun 2005 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Web-Based Assessment

Expanding educational (and other) assessments and the explosive growth of computer and Internet technologies have produced an ever-increasing number of online assessment tools for nearly any imaginable purpose. Formal assessments, including standardized tests, and more informal assessments, such as those used by classroom teachers, are included in this boom. The assessments discussed here include everything from programs that administrators might look at for standardized testing for an entire district to programs that individual teachers might purchase for their own use or for use within a department.
Posted 01 May 2005- May/Jun 2005 Issue By

A.I. vs. the Pen: Cutting-Edge Tools for Teaching Writing [Available Full-Text, Free]

Advances in technology—including artificial intelligence (AI), as well as computer- and Web-based technologies—have led to the development of exciting instructional and testing applications for teaching writing. Some of the more radical changes are stemming from the development and relatively widespread use of computerized essay correction technology. In this article, learn about an array of essay-scoring products from some of the top testing companies, including Educational Testing Services (e-rater), Pearson Knowledge Technologies (Intelligent Essay Assessor), and Vantage Learning (IntelliMetric).
Posted 01 May 2005- May/Jun 2005 Issue By

A LOOK At ... Products for Language Arts Teachers

The electronic devices, Web sites, and computer software discussed in this article will almost certainly light up the eyes of the television, Game Boy, or computer game fans in most classrooms. And, hopefully, some of the enthusiasm for the medium will carry over into the subject matter. For purposes of this article, language arts is loosely defined as anything that might be taught in an English class. Discussing a representative sampling of this technology will hopefully give readers ideas for classroom use, as well as ideas about places to look for additional similar learning tools.
Posted 01 Mar 2005- Mar/Apr 2005 Issue By

DATABASE NEWS: What's There, and What's Coming Up, in the World of K-12 Content­, Part 1

To give MMIS readers a baseline on K-12 database content and an idea of what's coming up, the author recently spoke with representatives of a number of major vendors about the K-12 products they currently offer, as well as what's planned for release in the near future. The five covered in this article are ABC-CLIO Schools, EBSCO Publishing, ProQuest Information and Learning, Thomson Gale, and H.W. Wilson. But note that this article is listed as Part 1, as there are other resources to cover. Watch for Part 2 in an upcoming issue of MMIS.

Cherry Hill Public Library's DIGITAL COMMUNITY CENTER--Reaching Out to the Schools and Beyond

Challenged to identify common information needs across the community and to gather and deliver the resources for them, librarians at Cherry Hill Public Library created a “Digital Community Center.” Sirsi’s Rooms content manager serves to organize and house the resources, and to open them up everyone.
Posted 01 Mar 2005- Mar/Apr 2005 Issue By

Virtual School Libraries­--The Time is Now! [Available Full-Text, Free]

The free Internet, subscription databases, and e-books make information available outside of physical library walls, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With the proliferation of information in electronic format, virtual school libraries must be entities of the present, not the future. We must provide access to quality resources and instruction in how to use them, virtually! Learn more and discover virtual school libraries that represent Best Practices in the field in Audrey Church's article.
Posted 01 Mar 2005- Mar/Apr 2005 Issue By

A Formula for Successful Technology Integration Must Include Curriculum

The NCLB Act mandates technology literacy by the time students reach the eighth grade. To prepare for meeting this mandate, our district worked to equip the school community with all the tools it would need to help the students achieve computer proficiency by the end of their eighth grade year. But initially, we found that not enough of the district's eighth graders had met the standards we set. We soon realized that despite adequate facilities, equipment, and funding, we would not succeed in achieving computer proficiency without a technology literacy teaching tool. The missing piece was curriculum—a program to teach kids technology skills in a real-world context.
Posted 01 Jan 2005- Jan/Feb 2005 Issue By

Trends in the LMC: What School Librarians Can Expect ...

To start the new calendar year with a trends and expectations story from a school librarian's point of view, we turned to library media activist, writer, conference presenter, and school library "presence" Pam Nutt. We asked Pam to query her colleagues and herself to find out, well, what's on their minds! What's affecting them and their profession, particularly--but not exclusively--in the area of technology. Read this feature to see what she told us.
Posted 01 Jan 2005- Jan/Feb 2005 Issue By

LINK CHECKING—A Path to Quality Web Sites

There is a method to locate and textually or graphically display links to sites that amplify the content of a useful Web site. The method can also be employed to assist in verifying the credibility of a Web resource and as a very effective search technique.
Posted 01 Jan 2005- Jan/Feb 2005 Issue By

A LOOK AT ... Subscription Web Sites [Available Full-Text, Free]

As the Web continues to develop and faster Internet access becomes available to more individuals, the likelihood of Web-based programs replacing CD-ROMs is becoming more and more real. The advantages provided by subscription Web-based services will lead them to be used for direct instructional purposes in the classroom.
Posted 01 Jan 2005- Jan/Feb 2005 Issue By

Technology that Moves Assessment and Student Achievement Forward

Technological advances have provided new opportunities and greater power to support the teachers' endeavors and have simplified the process of collecting and using data to help them make informed decisions about their increasingly thinning resources, to better collaborate on what works, and, ultimately, to help all children learn.
Posted 01 Nov 2004- Nov/Dec 2004 Issue By

Data-driven Professional Development

What makes the biggest difference in improving student performance? It's not the latest curriculum product or assessment tool or even parental involvement. Research indicates that it is precisely what the average citizen already knows: teachers and the quality of teaching.
Posted 01 Nov 2004- Nov/Dec 2004 Issue By

Free and Fee-Based Online Science Resources for the K-12 Community [Available Full-Text, Free]

Searching the Web may seem an easy task. Just type in your terms and look at all the results—until, of course, you are engulfed in your hits, drowning in the inevitable consequences of a bad keyword search. A more efficient, viable alternative is to search combinations of superb free Web directories/portals and free/fee-based vendor resources, with an emphasis on quality over quantity.

A LOOK AT... Software for Handheld Computing

You've learned the basic functions of your hand-held computer (or PDA—Personal Digital Assistant)—and now you're wondering what more you can do with it, or how you can improve its function.
Posted 01 Nov 2004- Nov/Dec 2004 Issue By

Technology-Based Mathematics: Tools and Content for Teaching, Assessment, and Accountability

In this article, several math and assessment packages are examined in an effort both to describe them--and the benefits that technology-based products can bring to math teaching and assessment--and to address the issue of how to look at and select such products.
Posted 01 Sep 2004- Sep/Oct 2004 Issue By

Leveraging Our Cutting Edge Library Tools and Resources

Everyone is beginning to drown in information. Offer them a life preserver and they just might take you up on it. The satisfaction you'll gain in seeing all your library's information technology and resources finally being heavily and effectively used will only be matched by the resulting improvements in student learning you'll witness!
Posted 01 Sep 2004- Sep/Oct 2004 Issue By

Web-Based Databases and Search Tools

The Internet has added whole new dimensions to databases—not only to the type and breadth of information available—but to the complexity and problems involved in getting the information.
Posted 01 Sep 2004- Sep/Oct 2004 Issue By

Individualizing the Research Process in an Online Environment

Three types of researchers show up at my high school library. Many are what I categorize as the research slugs, identifiable in two variations. The first is the easy-to-spot student hiding in a corner of the library, head propped up and a puddle of drool on the table. The second slug variation is much harder to spot. This is the student who has the Annals of America open with a People magazine hidden inside. The slug is intent on avoiding research and may expend large amounts of energy to do so.

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