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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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October 25, 2005

Table of Contents

Free Resources: School Libraries Work!, Updated 2006
U.S. State Department, Global SchoolNet Foundation Announce “Doors to Diplomacy” 2006 Web Project Competition
ITI Cross Links: Apple Introduces the new iMac G5
Free Resources: S.O.S. for Information Literacy Launched at AASL
Cool Links: AASL/ACRL INFOLIT Discussion Group
PLATO Learning Launches Third Curriculum in the PLATO Middle School Science Series
Adobe Introduces Photoshop Elements 4.0 and Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0
SMART Launches Database of K–12 Lesson Activities Correlated to State Standards
ABC-CLIO Announces Latest Subscription Web Site: United States At War—Understanding Conflict and Society
EBSCOhost Databases Offer Expanded Image Collections
EBSCO Adds Content to BookSource: Nonfiction Database
New Kids Search Interface Enhances Access to EBSCO’s K-6 Databases

Free Resources: School Libraries Work!, Updated 2006

From Scholastic, freely downloadable, comes this update of the uplifting and substantive report "School Libraries Work!" We missed the presentation on it at AASL, but heard about it while there. Having looked it over, we want to "pass it on" with a hearty endorsement. It's a great source of information in support of school library programs nationwide.

From the report's preface:

This research foundation paper, updated from the first edition of School Libraries Work!, brings together position statements from a variety of organizations and findings from nearly a decade of empirical studies that cite the measurable impact school libraries and library media specialists have on student achievement. It includes highlights from "Why Care About School Libraries?," published in March 2005 by the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, the results of new state studies from Illinois and Indiana, as well as new data, statistics, resources, and strategies to help school principals, school board members, and library media specialists support and improve their library media centers.

School Libraries Work!, Updated 2006 is available at http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/printables/downloads/slw_2006.pdf.

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U.S. State Department, Global SchoolNet Foundation Announce “Doors to Diplomacy” 2006 Web Project Competition

The U.S. Department of State and the Global SchoolNet Foundation have announced the 2006 "Doors to Diplomacy" award competition for middle school and high school students. The educational award program will recognize the student-created Global SchoolNet Web projects that best teach others about the importance of international affairs and diplomacy.

The performance-based, collaborative project-design competition engages and benefits students in a variety of ways:

* Supports standards-based coursework
* Connects students to their local communities
* Increases students global perspective
* Increases real world, transferable skills
* Involves students in the assessment
* Teaches students 21st century, information-age skills (research, teamwork, project-management, publishing, digital media, audio, video)

Working in small teams with teacher-coaches, students must complete their projects by March 17, 2006. Winners will be announced in May 2006. Every team that completes a final entry will receive a special Doors to Diplomacy certificate to recognize their achievement. Each student member of the team that wins the "Doors to Diplomacy" receives a $2,000 scholarship, and the winning coaches' schools each receive a $500 cash award.

For a complete description and information about eligibility and judging criteria, visit http://globalschoolhouse.org/doors/

Source: Global SchoolNet, http://www.globalschoolnet.org

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ITI Cross Links: Apple Introduces the new iMac G5

No, it's not a utilitarian "education machine." Hardly. As you might expect, Apple's latest iMac has all the ... well, the latest! Its features are those today's students want to play and work with, so, just to keep up to date, you may want to read this announcement on the iMac G5 via one of our Information Today, Inc. sister sites. Items: built-in iSight video camera; Photo Booth; Mighty Mouse (!); Front Row "media experience."

Click HERE to link to the complete story at EMediaLive.com.

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Free Resources: S.O.S. for Information Literacy Launched at AASL

S.O.S. for Information Literacy, a project of the Center for Digital Literacy at Syracuse University and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, in collaboration with the American Association of School Librarians, was officially launched October 7, during the 12th American Association of School Librarians (ASL) conference in Pittsburgh. The K-8 version of S.O.S. was demonstrated and an announcement about new funding to extend S.O.S. was made.

S.O.S. for Information Literacy is a dynamic, multimedia, Web-based, and freely accessible resource for K-8 library media specialists and classroom teachers that promises to make a significant contribution to enhancing the teaching of information literacy skills worldwide, according to the project organizers. S.O.S. (Situation, Outcomes, Strategies) is a database of standards-based information literacy lesson plans and other teaching materials, emphasizing collaborative planning and delivery with classroom teachers and integrated with the curriculum, that can be used "as is" or adapted to specific needs.

S.O.S. features:

* "Just in time" training that takes the submitter step-by-step through the lesson planning and submission process
* Emphasis on motivational teaching strategies that excite students about the research process
* Collection of best practice video clips of lessons "in action"
* A "Spotlight on Educators" page that showcases library media specialists from around the world and their exemplary lesson plans
* Direct links to national information literacy and content area standards
* Handouts and other types of related support materials included in each lesson
*A unique quality control system—every lesson plan is thoroughly reviewed by two independent evaluators and must meet the criteria for acceptance into the database

The S.O.S. advisory board consists of college faculty, pre-service graduate students, practicing teachers and library media specialists, and consultants, including such education leaders as Pam Berger, Sharon Coatney, Bernie Dodge, Alan November, Kathy Schrock, Ross Todd, and Julie Walker.

Project directors Dr. Ruth Small and Dr. Marilyn Arnone of the Center for Digital Literacy at Syracuse University, noted during the launch at AASL that S.O.S. for Information Literacy is a "grass roots" project and urged interested educators to participate in lesson plan creation as well as use the resource. To build lesson plans and submit them for peer review and evaluation, visit the project Web site at http://www.informationliteracy.org/

Small and Arnone also announced plans to extend the S.O.S. project to the high school level, and they put out a call for volunteers to help in development of this new component. Volunteers will help build the resource by:

* Providing input and feedback on new features as they are developed
* Submitting one or more quality lesson plans, with support materials such as handouts, PowerPoint presentation, etc., to serve as models for other educators
*Participating in surveys to help evaluate the project.

For more information, contact Dr. Ruth Small at drruth@syr.edu or Dr. Marilyn Arnone at arnonemp@aol.com.

Source: Center for Digital Literacy, Syracuse University, http://digital-literacy.syr.edu/; Institute of Museum and Library Services, http://www.imls.gov/

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Cool Links: AASL/ACRL INFOLIT Discussion Group

Having recently returned from the AASL conference in Pittsburgh—and having somehow missed this announcement a couple of months ago—we want to signal the existence of an interesting (almost) new discussion group "for school, academic, and public librarians to exchange ideas on information literacy programs and experiences that demonstrate a collaborative relationship between K-12 and higher education institutions."

Here's the core of the announcement about INFOLIT, from late July, 2005:

AASL and ACRL Launch Discussion List for Information Literacy

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) have launched INFOLIT - an electronic discussion list for information literacy.

The INFOLIT discussion list is an initiative of the AASL/ACRL Interdivisional Committee on Information Literacy, whose charge is to focus on how to prepare K-20 students to be information literate and to provide a channel of communication to the respective divisions. This interdivisional committee is a channel for sharing ideas on information literacy in K-20 environments and a source of professional development opportunities in this area. The committee focuses its work in the following areas:
* To discuss ways to prepare K-20 students to be information literate
* To provide a channel of communication for the respective divisions
* To facilitate a forum for sharing ideas on K-20 information literacy
* To be a source of professional development opportunities on information literacy

The INFOLIT discussion list is open to all school, academic, and public librarians interested in discourse about information literacy topics and K-20 curriculum issues. Amy Deuink, reference/instruction librarian, Ciletti Memorial Library at Pennsylvania State University (Schuykiss Haven), moderates the list.

For more information on INFOLIT, follow this link to the AASL Web site: http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslproftools/aasledisclist/INFOLIT.htm

To subscribe to the list, send a blank e-mail message to <mailto: subscribe-infolit@ala.org> with your first and last name as the subject.

Source: ACRL, a division of the American Library Association, http://www.ala.org/ACRL

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PLATO Learning Launches Third Curriculum in the PLATO Middle School Science Series

PLATO Learning, Inc. has announced that it has released PLATO Earth and Space Science, the final curriculum in the PLATO Middle School Science Series.

PLATO Earth and Space Science includes multimedia lessons and activities that use animation, experiments, investigations, video, and audio to bring science concepts to life, according to the announcement. Each lesson uses theme-based scenarios to engage students in scientific inquiry, problem solving, and critical thinking. A test-item bank allows teachers to assign objective-based pre-tests and post-tests to determine level of understanding and prescribe appropriate instruction.

Designed as a flexible instructional tool, the PLATO Middle School Science Series can be implemented for multiple uses: as a self-study tool, as a remedial curriculum in credit recovery programs, in teacher presentations to introduce concepts, for test review, as a supplement to GED instruction, or to complement textbook lessons. Each lesson is aligned to state standards and the guidelines set by the National Science Foundation, the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) lab and the AAAS Project 2061.

PLATO Earth and Space Science is the final release in the PLATO Middle School Science Series. PLATO Life Science was released in 2003, and PLATO Physical Science was released in September 2004. With the completion of the PLATO Middle School Science Series, PLATO Learning is now able to offer a comprehensive middle school package that includes standards-based mathematics, reading and writing, social studies, and science content, all with built-in assessment, the announcement states.

Source: PLATO Learning, Inc., http://www.plato.com

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Adobe Introduces Photoshop Elements 4.0 and Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0

Adobe Systems, Inc., has announced two new products for digital photo and digital video users. Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 for Windows, a new version of Adobe's consumer photo editing software, adds powerful and intuitive ways to organize, edit, and share photos, while Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 software for Windows brings control, ease of use, and more options for creative digital video editing, according to the announcement. The two programs are available together in a single package, or as separate products.

Photoshop Elements 4.0 delivers more editing power with the new Magic Selection Brush that allows users to select specific parts of photos for easy color, lighting, and contrast adjustments. The Magic Extractor extracts subjects from photos, with advanced edge defringing, for composites. Smart technology behind new features enables photo enhancement with automatic red eye removal across a batch of photos; one-click skin tone correction; and Face Tagging, which allows users to keep photos at their fingertips with new ways to find and view them.

Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 makes it easy to import video clips from all digital video devices, experiment with hundreds of professional transitions and effects, and burn videos to DVD, the announcement states. Users can create professional-looking DVDs with customizable menus, or transfer their personal video to portable video players.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 Plus Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 for Windows is available as a bundle at an estimated street price of US $149.99. Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 for Windows XP (Home, Professional, and Media Center with Service Pack 2) is available for an estimated street price of US $99.99. Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 for Windows XP (Home, Professional with Service Pack 2 or Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005) is available for an estimated street price of US $99.99.

For details on education pricing, see http://store.adobe.com/store/products/department.jhtml;?id=deptEducation.

Source: Adobe Systems, Inc., http://www.adobe.com

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SMART Launches Database of K–12 Lesson Activities Correlated to State Standards

SMART Technologies, Inc. has announced the immediate availability of its new searchable database of interactive K-12 lesson activities correlated to U.S. state standards. It is the first searchable database of lesson activities for interactive whiteboards, according to the SMART announcement. The standards-based activities are organized by state, subject area, grade level, and keyword for searching on SMART's new Web site for educators at http://education.smarttech.com/.

The content, developed by teachers from SMART and around the world, is available at no charge for immediate classroom use with SMART products. SMART will continue to expand the database with more lesson activities and teaching resources for educators using SMART Board interactive whiteboards and SMART interactive pen displays.

The lesson activities are fully editable, allowing teachers to add to the material or customize them for their specific needs. Created in Notebook whiteboarding software, the content caters to all grade levels and covers a wide range of subjects, including language arts, math, science, social studies, health, physical education, and world languages. For example, fifth grade math teachers can use a hands-on activity called "Measures of Central Tendency" to engage students in computing mean, median, and mode. Sixth grade teachers can use an activity entitled "Solids, Liquids and Gases," which includes a virtual simulation where students can observe changes in the state of water molecules as different amounts of heat are applied.

Source: SMART Technologies, Inc., http://smarttech.com

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ABC-CLIO Announces Latest Subscription Web Site: United States At War—Understanding Conflict and Society

ABC-CLIO has announced it will release a new subscription Web site on the study of war and conflict this fall. United States At War—Understanding Conflict and Society will look at 14 American-involved wars and allow users to compare the military, economic, and social aspects of each conflict.

The site enables users to explore the major conflicts involving the U.S. throughout its history, both through the events that shaped them and the themes that defined them. Presented by working historians, essays detailing the defining moments of each conflict provide a glimpse into that specific world. Users will have one-click-away access to contemporary research and journalism; statistical data and maps; biographies; profiles of all other nations and combatants involved; extensive supporting media (archival video, audio, and still images), and more.

Users can easily compare and contrast numerous key themes, both broad and specific, including strategy, resources, economy, politics, society, and culture, according to the ABC-CLIO announcement. Content will be added and updated regularly, offering a holistic understanding of conflict not found in textbooks. In addition, top historians will debate points of view with balanced, pro/con perspectives, encouraging students to think critically while forming opinions and drawing conclusions.

For more information and to sign up for a preview, follow this link: http://www.abc-clio.com/promos/sol/uswars.aspx?camp=corpwebpl&from=libraries

Source: ABC-CLIO, http://www.abc-clio.com

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EBSCOhost Databases Offer Expanded Image Collections

EBSCO has announced it is adding more than 98,000 images to its Image Collection. This collection, available as part of EBSCO's applicable full text databases, will now feature a total of 188,323 images (photos, maps, and flags) from a variety of notable sources.

The new image content includes 20,000 additional archival/historical images from Getty Images (with images added monthly), 71,000 new current events (Sports, Politics and News) images from United Press International (also with new images added each month), and 9,700 new images from the Motion Picture & Television Archive (bringing the total MPTV collection to over 35,000 images). All of this new content is being added to the already extensive collection of images provided with applicable EBSCOhost full text databases.

This collection of image content can be searched simultaneously with the full text resources found in EBSCO databases. This ability allows users to locate any applicable visual references that may complement the other textual information yielded by their search results.

Source: EBSCO Publishing, http://www.epnet.com/

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EBSCO Adds Content to BookSource: Nonfiction Database

EBSCO Publishing has announced that it has added content to BookSource: Nonfiction, which now features more than 3,100 nonfiction books, including 1,300 that are part of the Accelerated Reader (AR) program used by many schools.

BookSource: Nonfiction, available via EBSCOhost, is a full text, fully searchable database and also offers informative abstracts. BookSource: Nonfiction provides full text for more than 3,100 popular nonfiction books that are favored by schools and public libraries, according to the EBSCO announcement. This database provides a variety of books including many complete series from publishers such as Bess Press, Capstone Press, Chelsea House, Compass Point Books, Crabtree Publishing, Fulcrum Publishing, Great Neck Publishing, Lerner Publishing Group, Mason Crest Publishers, Morgan Reynolds, Inc., Oliver Press, Oxford University Press, Rourke Publishing LLC, and Stackpole Books.

Full Text subject content in BookSource: Nonfiction includes biographies, social studies, history, and science, as well as additional valuable information on careers, health & medical issues, life skills, sports, adventure, technology, ethnicity, and disabilities.

Users of BookSource: Nonfiction can limit their searches by one or more of the following criteria: book title, year published, Lexile reading level, number of pages, or articles with images. Searches can be also conducted from book title and subject authority files.

The book content in BookSource: Nonfiction is broken into manageable units, such as chapters, sub-headings, or whole books for short, one-subject publications. Each unit will appear as its own record in the result list with citation information and a detailed abstract. The citation for each record will also include a link, "Click to view Table of Contents," that will provide a table of contents list of all related records from the same publication.

Source: EBSCO Publishing, http://www.epnet.com/

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New Kids Search Interface Enhances Access to EBSCO’s K-6 Databases

EBSCO Publishing has announced the release of the new Kids Search interface for elementary/middle school database subscribers. Kids Search combines a state-of-the-art search engine (powered by EBSCOhost) with a child-friendly, graphically-rich design, according to the announcement. As most of EBSCO's customers subscribe to multiple databases, Kids Search makes it easier for students to look for their subjects of interest by automatically searching across all applicable databases simultaneously.

This new interface follows the recent introduction of EBSCO's Student Research Center (SRC) interface for secondary school students. (See EBSCO's Secondary-Level Student Research Center Search Interface Now Available.) SRC offers an alternative to the existing EBSCOhost interface that supports EBSCO's secondary school databases, such as MAS Ultra and History Reference Center. While customers can continue to use the EBSCOhost Web interface to access applicable school databases, optional search interfaces such as Kids Search and SRC help to ensure that the specific user groups for which they are designed are able to extract the maximum benefit from their research experience, according to the EBSCO announcement. Both interfaces can also provide access to subscribed-to teacher resources including ERIC and EBSCO's Professional Development Collection.

Features and functionality of Kids Search include a completely new look and feel; the ability to search by topic, subtopic, or keywords; simultaneous searching across all subscribed databases; the ability to sort results by relevance, as well as by date; the option of filtering search results by source type; and the ability to add search results, images, or persistent links to searches to the Folder.

To view a sample screenshot of the main search screen from the Kids Search interface, visit http://support.epnet.com/custsupport/images/KidsHome.gif.

Source: EBSCO Publishing, http://www.epnet.com/

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