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March 14, 2006

Table of Contents

Free Resources: National Archives, Google Project to Digitize and Offer Historic Films Online
ITI Cross Links: Wikipedia and Britannica—The Kid’s All Right (And So’s the Old Man)
Southfarm Press Poetry and Book Illustration Contest
Free Resources: Thomson Gale Offers Earth Day Materials
Free Resources: BrainPOP's Earth Day Videos
Northwest Evaluation Association Introduces Dynamic Reporting Suite
H.W. Wilson’s Art Museum Image Gallery Adds Images from the Indianapolis Museum of Art
EBSCO Publishing Introduces the Literary Reference Center
Pearson PASeries Writing Debuts
Big6 Learning Tools Announces Release of Big6 TurboTools v2.0
Free Resources: CNN Student News Women's History Month Classroom Resources
ISTE Publishes Guide on Intelligent Mobile Device Use in Schools
Follett Introduces New Destiny Offering
Scholastic Announces Building Vocabulary for Reading Success

Free Resources: National Archives, Google Project to Digitize and Offer Historic Films Online

Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Google co-founder and president of technology Sergey Brin have announced the launch of a pilot program to make holdings of the National Archives available for free online. This agreement will enable researchers and the general public to access a diverse collection of historic movies, documentaries, and other films from the National Archives via Google Video ( as well as the National Archives Web site (

The pilot program undertaken by the National Archives and Google features 101 films from the audiovisual collections preserved at the Archives. Highlights of the pilot project include the following:

* The earliest film preserved in the National Archives holdings by Thomas Armat, "Carmencita - Spanish Dance," featuring the famous Spanish Gypsy dancer,1894 (
* A representative selection of U.S. government newsreels, documenting World War II, 1941-45 (
* A sampling of documentaries produced by NASA on the history of the spaceflight program (;
* Motion picture films, primarily from the 1930s, that document the history and establishment of a nationwide system of national and state parks.  Included is early footage of modern Native American activities, Boulder Dam, documentation of water and wind erosion, Civilian Conservation Corps workers, and the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority.  A 1970 film documents the expansion of recreational programs for inner city youth across the nation (

The National Archives and Google are exploring the possibilities of expanding the online film collection and making the Archives' extensive textual holdings available via the Internet.

Source: National Archives Public Affairs Office,

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ITI Cross Links: Wikipedia and Britannica—The Kid’s All Right (And So’s the Old Man)

There's an awful lot of discussion these days in K-12 LMS circles about Wikipedia, its value and validity as a research tool and information resource, and, if it's found lacking in that regard, then its value for students as a sort of laboratory where students can hone their information literacy skills.

The concept of Wikipedia is getting kicked around, metaphorically, in wider circles as well, of course. Over at Barbara Quint's Searcher magazine, information professional Paula Berinstein has written an article, Wikipedia and Britannica—The Kid's All Right (And So's the Old Man), that delves deeply into both those products … who uses them, who writes for them, what they're trying to be, how their articles are produced, their reliability, and more. On reliability/authority, we love this paragraph:

As it is difficult to hit a moving target, so is evaluating Wikipedia's authority. One minute an article may be flawed; another, it may be capable of satisfying most experts. Users who rely on Wikipedia as a sole source are playing roulette, even if they check and recheck entries.

We recommend you read the article! You'll enjoy it, including the very Britannica-like statements of her source there and the very Wikipedia-esque statements of her source there.

Need a further teaser? Here's how Berinstein starts out:

Many Searcher readers, especially those of us who went to library school, remember the hushed reverence with which the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the last published in the U.K., was spoken. Here was a classic work of scholarship that was so definitive, so monumental, that it was still unmatched decades after its completion in 1911.

So it is perhaps with mixed feelings that we regard the upstart Wikipedia. The bottom-up, dynamic, nonprofit, Web-based encyclopedia continues to mushroom in popularity (about 2.5 billion page views per month) and size (more than 873,000 articles and 43,000 contributors associated with the English-language version, and more than 89,000 total volunteers working on over 2,550,000 articles in more than 200 languages). And as it grows, a battle of sorts has emerged between it and the iconic Britannica (which now contains over 65,000 articles and 35 percent updated content in the 2005 print edition and more than 120,000 in the online edition). The Britannica also now appears online as well as in hard copy, DVD, and CD-ROM. The most blatant symbol of the battle is Wikipedia's page devoted to correcting errors in Britannica.

The primary question for info pros is, of course, reliability. Can "the public" concoct and maintain a free, authoritative encyclopedia that's unbiased, complete, and reliable? If not, then Britannica may rest on its laurels and its good name, although with the Web so free and accessible, it's been taking licks for some years. But if the answer is "Yes," what happens to that shining beacon of scholarship, its publishers, and its academic contributors? Is encyclopedia publishing a "zero sum" game?

Still reading this MMIS Xtra ITI Cross Link? Click HERE to go to Paula Berinstein's article in Information Today, Inc.'s Searcher magazine.

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Southfarm Press Poetry and Book Illustration Contest

In support of April's designation as National Poetry Month, Southfarm Press offers a poetry and cut paper book illustration contest open to children in grades K-3.

Entries must include a poem and a cut paper illustration for that poem.

Southfarm Press will award 10 prizes: a $100 First Prize, a $75 Second Prize, a $50 Third Prize, and $25 4th-10th prizes. In addition, copies of the children's poetry book "The Macaroon Moon" will be provided to every child in each winner's main school classroom.

Entries must be postmarked by April 29, 2006 and received by May 6, 2006. All entries become the property of Southfarm Press. Online entries will not be accepted.

Winners will be announced May 12, 2006. Complete contest rules and the company's address appear online at

Source: Southfarm Press,

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Free Resources: Thomson Gale Offers Earth Day Materials

Thomson Gale provides free online access to a variety of Earth Day-related materials, including experiments, information on the environment, related Web links, tools for teachers and parents, and environment-focused Thomson Gale titles.

An online timeline ( lists important dates in environmental history since 1798, commemorating events such as the establishment of the Department of the Interior, the naming of the first national park, and the formation of the National Audubon Society.

A group of 12 online ecology-related experiments ( provide students with opportunities to learn to build a desert biome, explore the reasons a stream meanders, and more. The activities are taken from UXL's four-volume set, "Experiment Central," and are divided into seven standard sections designed to help students follow the experimental process clearly from beginning to end.

Online links ( connect to Web pages about wildlife, conservation, environmental policy, and organizations that support environmental causes.

Additional resources designed for use in lesson plans and student research provide information on biomes, endangered species, and the food Web. A Words to Know section offers a comprehensive glossary of environmental terms—from acid rain to wind power. An environmental ethics section discusses environmental laws and ethical issues, as well as some of the leaders of the modern environmental movement.

The information and resources, appropriate for activities related to Earth Day (April 22), are available online throughout the year.

Source: Thomson Corporation/Thomson Gale,

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Free Resources: BrainPOP's Earth Day Videos

BrainPOP offers free online movies on topics related to Earth Day throughout the month of April.

The movie titles include Earth (April 1-9), Global Warming (April 10-16), Recycling (April 17-23) and Earth's Atmosphere (April 24-30).

To view the films, go to and click on the featured movie.

Source: BrainPOP,

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Northwest Evaluation Association Introduces Dynamic Reporting Suite

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) has introduced the Dynamic Reporting Suite. Designed to simplify the analysis of assessment and curriculum data, the Suite allows teachers, principals, and administrators to spotlight learning areas that deserve attention without searching through stacks of reports or analyzing overwhelming numbers. The Suite offers this analytic capacity to K-12 education districts of any size and is available for purchase to all education organizations using NWEA's Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) system.

To use the Suite, teachers and administrators log onto the Dynamic Reporting Suite on NWEA's Web site. The Suite graphically displays key information about student learning in a visual format. Educators can choose to view more specific details to better understand student achievement trends and to plan instruction for each student's unique needs. The reports' visual usability means educators take only a fraction of the time they had been taking to quickly understand significant amounts of data in the reports, the NWEA announcement states.

Data aggregated through the Dynamic Reporting Suite are from NWEA's MAP assessment system that includes academic growth information and growth norms, all related to how a child is doing on a continuum of learning.

The Suite allows users to print customized reports and graphs that can include student performance data relative to growth, norms, and state proficiency.

Through use of the Suite, teachers can immediately understand their students' progress toward their individual growth targets, and toward meeting state proficiency standards. Additionally, teachers can get a snapshot of the academic diversity in their classroom, and spotlight areas in which students need support. They can also see which students are on track to be proficient in reading, math, or language arts, and can identify how education practices are affecting student growth.

The Dynamic Reporting Suite also enables teachers to create customized reading lists for students, targeting both reading ability and interests. Teachers can share the lists with parents for at-home reading emphasis and to guide summer reading.

For principals and building-level administrators, the Suite focuses attention on areas of possible concern by highlighting the proportion of students who are projected to meet growth targets and state proficiency standards.

At the central office administrative level, the Suite provides information through NWEA's Leaders' Edge tool. This enables administrators to disaggregate the growth data at any level. With this insight, administrators can evaluate the effectiveness of school programs and policies, and how best to allocate resources.

Administrators also can compare and analyze district, school and individual growth targets, spot district or school-level patterns and trends, and quickly "drill down" through groups to pinpoint student data.

Source: Northwest Evaluation Association,

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H.W. Wilson’s Art Museum Image Gallery Adds Images from the Indianapolis Museum of Art

H.W. Wilson has announced it has added images from the Indianapolis Museum of Art to its Art Museum Image Gallery. The images--including works by such giants as Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Norman Rockwell, and others--now join some 100,000 works in total on the WilsonWeb reference database Art Museum Image Gallery http://www.hwwilson/databases/artmuseum.htm.

Hailed by Library Journal as "essential," Art Museum Image Gallery brings users high-resolution art images gathered from the collections of distinguished museums around the world, representing art from 3000 B.C. to present. Each record includes a full description, and many also include related multimedia. All images are rights-cleared for educational use.

Art Museum Image Gallery searches seamlessly with other WilsonWeb databases, including Art Full Text and Art Index Retrospective: 1929-1984.

Free 30-day trials of Art Museum Image Gallery are available. For more information, visit

Source: H.W. Wilson,

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EBSCO Publishing Introduces the Literary Reference Center

EBSCO Publishing has announced the creation of the Literary Reference Center, with the goal of bringing together the top reference sources in the field of literary studies. The database provides users with a broad spectrum of information on thousands of authors and their works across literary disciplines and timeframes. Literary Reference Center has been specifically designed for public libraries, secondary schools, junior/community colleges, and undergraduate research, according to the announcement.

Literary Reference Center is a full-text database that combines information from major respected reference works, books, literary journals as well as original content from EBSCO Publishing. This resource includes more than 10,000 plot summaries, synopses and work overviews; 75,000 articles of literary criticism; 130,000 author biographies; full text of more than 300 literary journals; 500,000 book reviews; 25,000 classic and contemporary poems; over 11,000 classic and contemporary short stories; full text of more than 7,500 classic novels (anticipated by Fall 2006); over 3,000 author interviews; and over 1,000 images of key literary figures.

The database contains the Bloom Series of more than 500 books from Chelsea House Publishers edited by renowned literary critic Harold Bloom and all of MagillOnLiterature Plus from Salem Press, including the highly regarded Masterplots series.

Literary Reference Center also includes other major reference works such as Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature, The Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature, The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature, The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Beacham's Research Guide to Biography and Criticism (six volumes), The Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature, The Literary Encyclopedia, and The Columbia Companion to the 20th Century American Short Story. In addition, Literary Reference Center includes hundreds of literary books and monographs from Taylor & Francis, ME Sharpe, Peter Lang, Oxford University Press and many other leading publishers, as well as the complete contents of over 275 major literary journals.

Source: EBSCO Publishing,

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Pearson PASeries Writing Debuts

Pearson Education has announced the launch of PASeries Writing, the newest addition to its PASeries (Progress Assessment Series) product line. Developed for students in grades 6-12, PASeries Writing provides online assessment and regular practice throughout the school year to measure student progress and improve writing performance. Using the Knowledge Analysis Technologies (KAT) engine for scientifically based automated scoring, PASeries Writing provides immediate online reporting and easy-to-understand visual feedback to connect classroom instruction to student achievement, the announcement states.

The KAT engine, developed by Pearson Knowledge Technologies, is an automated evaluation tool that examines student writing in context and provides scoring that aligns with many state rubrics. The KAT engine is the only automated assessment tool for written language that evaluates the meaning of text, not simply grammatical correctness, spelling or other surface elements, according to the Pearson announcement.

PASeries Writing joins PASeries Reading and PASeries Mathematics, released in September 2004. PASeries is distributed to states and districts by Pearson Educational Measurement and Pearson Assessments. For more information about the PASeries product line, visit

Source: Pearson Education,

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Big6 Learning Tools Announces Release of Big6 TurboTools v2.0

Big6 Learning Tools has announced the release of Big6 Turbo Tools v2.0. The new version enhances administrative and end-user settings for each edition of TurboTools, according to the announcement, including: Personal Edition, School Edition, Family Edition, and Enterprise Edition.

Personal Edition—for use by an individual with no login.

School Edition—installs on multiple computers (i.e., computer lab, library, classroom). Students can both export (save) their reports/data when leaving and import them when arriving. The easy installation reduces or eliminates IT-related issues such as network configuration and other hassles.
Family Edition—allows multiple users to use the same application on the same computer and save their data under their respective user profiles.
Enterprise Edition—is a school or district-wide solution networked through a server. IT groups can grant access to its users from home and elsewhere.

Big6 TurboTools is the foundation of a Big6 information literacy program for schools and provides a way to put the Big6 process in action. It provides uniformity for successful student learning and helps facilitate student, teacher, librarian, and even parent collaboration, the announcement states.

TurboTools guides students through the Big6 process to create projects and complete assignments of all types, including research papers and book reports. Some of the tools integrated into Big6 TurboTools are: electronic resources for teachers, parents, and students, a powerful new tool for generating custom tests and evaluations, a student project manager, a built-in word processor, a citation/notes generator, an electronic dictionary, and a customizable report organizer and generator for producing book reports, science projects, and numerous other structured documents.

A demo of TurboTools may be downloaded from

Source: Big6 Learning Resources,

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Free Resources: CNN Student News Women's History Month Classroom Resources

CNN Student News celebrates Women's History Month throughout the month of March by offering both on-air and online profiles of historical and modern women. Educators will also have access to additional learning activities as well as a backgrounder on the origins of Women's History Month. Twice a week, the daily show for middle and high schools will highlight strong women at the top of their game in the corporate world, sports and government.

The on-air profiles (also streamed online for the Web) will include the following:

* Madeline Albright, first female U.S. secretary of state
* Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon
* Sandra Day O'Connor, first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court
* Pat Head Summitt of the University of Tennessee, NCAA's winningest basketball coach
* Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay

The online profiles, available at, will include the following:

* Marie Curie, discoverer of radium and first female Nobel Prize winner
* Danica Patrick, recent female Indianapolis 500 driver
* Sally Ride, first American woman in space
* Margaret Thatcher, first female British prime minister
* Babe Didrikson Zaharias, pioneering female athlete

CNN Student News, CNN's cost-and-commercial-free educational program for middle and high schools is part of Turner Learning and uses the resources of the CNN Worldwide to create news and information content specifically for the classroom. More information and schedules are available at

Source: CNN Student News,

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ISTE Publishes Guide on Intelligent Mobile Device Use in Schools

ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, has announced the publication of Handheld Computers and Smartphones In Secondary Schools: A Guide to Hands-On Learning. Written by handheld guru and best-selling author Bard Williams, the book provides lesson plans for all secondary school content areas and includes classroom management strategies, professional development ideas, tips for choosing and using best-of-class curriculum and productivity software, and practical classroom exercises that get the most out of handheld computers.

The book is intended for grade 6-12 teachers, technology coordinators, curriculum developers, and teacher educators.

Handheld Computers and Smartphones In Secondary Schools: A Guide to Hands-On Learning may be purchased online for $35.95 for ISTE members and $39.95 for nonmembers. More information about the book as well as a free downloadable excerpt and the table of contents are available at

Author Bard Williams, Ed.D., is a veteran educator, technology visionary, and nationally known writer, speaker, and consultant, the announcement states. He is a frequent keynote speaker and presenter at major technology and Internet conferences and the author of several award-winning books. His ISTE titles include the best-selling Palm Handheld Computers-A Complete Resource for Classroom Teachers and We're Getting Wired, We're Going Mobile, What's Next"

Source: International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE),

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Follett Introduces New Destiny Offering

Follett Software Company has announced the introduction of a new product, Destiny Asset Manager, designed, according to the announcement, to enable school districts to optimize millions of dollars worth of fixed and portable assets.

Destiny Asset Manager uses a browser-based interface and scanner technology to keep track of all of a district's fixed and portable assets, making sure districts get the most value for their budget investment. The product was designed to meet the specific asset management needs of K-12 school districts.

Destiny Asset Manager keeps track of all relevant information—a detailed description, where it's housed, who has it now, when it's due back—including a picture of the asset. The information is available to any authorized user in your district with access to a browser. Site-based staff and administrators can search for items located at their school or elsewhere in the district. District staff can locate, manage, and circulate assets, and prepare inventories and reports.

Use of Destiny Asset Manager allows districts to streamline operations and save budget dollars in several ways, the announcement states:

• Reduces lost and stolen inventory: Destiny makes it easy to keep track of the location and movement of assets.
• Maximize asset use: No more wasted budget dollars ordering duplicate assets that can be shared instead.
• Fast and inexpensive to implement: Destiny is installed centrally at the district; users access it with any browser-equipped computer.
• Eliminates multiple applications: Destiny eliminates the need for multiple software and labeling systems to manage assets.
• Generate state and county reports: Destiny gives district administrators the data they need to complete state, county, federal, and other reports. This type of information is critical for compliance with GASB requirements.

Destiny Asset Manager is part of the Destiny Resource Management Solution, an integrated suite of browser-based applications that help centralize and streamline the management of key instructional resources and assets, allowing K-12 districts to reallocate staff and financial resources to student learning. Destiny Asset Manager joins the Destiny Resource Management Solution suite: Destiny Library Manager, Destiny Textbook Manager, and Destiny Media Manager. Any Destiny component can be implemented either as a stand-alone product, or in conjunction with other Destiny modules.

Source: Follett Software Company,

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Scholastic Announces Building Vocabulary for Reading Success

Scholastic Education has announced the launch of a professional development course from Scholastic RED: Building Vocabulary for Reading Success. Part of Scholastic's research-based professional development series, the course includes both online instruction and in-person collaboration—providing teachers of grades K-3 with strategies for vocabulary instruction.

Building Vocabulary for Reading Success offers teachers strategies for helping children to increase their reading comprehension in subjects like science, math, and social studies through vocabulary-building using words specific to the content areas. The course is supplemented with lesson plans and classroom resources that seamlessly integrate professional development content into a variety of classroom reading programs.

Scholastic RED's Building Vocabulary for Reading Success is designed to help teachers:

§ Better understand the strong relationship between vocabulary size and reading comprehension.

§ Select and teach essential new words that are critical to students understanding.

§ Model the use of rich, complex, and diverse vocabulary—encouraging and influencing students' lifelong interest in and use of language.

§ Tailor lessons to support English language learners.

According to the announcement, Scholastic RED provides teachers with access to some of the leading experts in the field by featuring master practitioners and reading experts modeling strategies in real classrooms. Course faculty for Scholastic RED: Building Vocabulary for Reading Success include Dr. Elfrieda Hiebert, University of California at Berkeley; Dr. Maria Carlo, University of Miami; Dr. Shari Frost; and Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic.

Building Vocabulary for Reading Success, along with all Scholastic RED courses, is aligned to national and state professional development standards and correlated to all major reading programs. Teachers complete online lessons and then come together as a group to reflect on their learning, share student work, and practice strategies modeled by course facilitators. Every Scholastic RED course is accredited by RED's university partners for three hours of graduate credit.


For more information, visit

Source: Scholastic Education,

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