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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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May 09, 2006

Table of Contents

ITI Cross Links: The Terrible Twos—Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and More
Scholastic’s Summer Reading Buzz Site Launches
CoSN Joins Online Student Safety Partnership
Cool Links: Andy Carvin’s New PBS Blog, Learning.now
Cool Links: Another Lee Rainie/Pew Internet & American Life Project Presentation—Teens and Technology
Sub-IT Offers Automated Substitute Teacher Placement
NWEA Creates New K-2 Assessment
Crick Software's Clicker 5 Now Available for Mac OSX
LeapFrog SchoolHouse Announces LeapTrack Reading Pro
Software Programs from Tom Snyder Productions Included in New Apple Digital Learning Series
Knowledge Adventure Teacher Awards Program to Honor Innovative Classroom Educators
PLATO Learning Introduces New Straight Curve Product Line

ITI Cross Links: The Terrible Twos—Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and More

We've heard talk about it at conferences; we've seen it in the discussion groups and blogs. It's kind of confusing, all this Web 2.0, Internet 2.0, and Library 2.0 stuff. (We've even read blog postings critical of conference speakers who reputedly weren't able to define these terms even as they spoke about them … )

Well, clarification is on the way, all in one place. In this article, ONLINE magazine columnist Greg Notess discusses and sorts out the 2.0's, even touching on "School Library 2.0 with visions of student reviews via blogs, interactive calendars, class wikis, and instructional screencasts." He not so much promoting 2.0 as he is promoting an understanding of 2.0.

From Greg's opening paragraphs:

[T]he latest round of 2.0s on the Web … are a conglomeration of technologies, ideas, and approaches that, at least to some, represent a new way of interacting online. Their meanings are ambiguous and sometimes contradictory. …

Even though much of the 2.0 technologies are the playground for Web designers and programmers, knowing the terminology and sample sites allows the information professional [MMISxtra ed.'s note: and the school library media specialist] to converse about the new trends and to find both useful sites and new capabilities to integrate into information products. Rather than debate the overall merits of the 2.0 movement, information professionals should explore the territory, techniques, and examples to find the most useful applications in your own work environment.

We think you'll appreciate the light Greg shines on the subject. Click HERE to link to the article at Information Today, Inc.'s ONLINE magazine.

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Scholastic’s Summer Reading Buzz Site Launches

Scholastic, Inc. has announced that its "Summer Reading Buzz" Web site is up and running as of May 9. Scholastic has created this online community at http://www.scholastic.com/summerreading to encourage reading throughout the summer. This site, for kids, parents, and librarians nationwide, has been created to help combat what is known as the "Summer Slump." The Summer Reading Buzz site will have cool activities and contests for kids, informative tips and tools for parents, and downloable materials for librarians to make summer reading enjoyable and fun, according to Scholastic.

Kids can register to create their own Reading Log to track how many books they've read over the summer, for a chance to win prizes such as family round trip airline tickets to the destination of their choice (within the continental US and Caribbean) provided by American Airlines, Firefly cell phones, and gift certificates from the National Basketball Association. The Buzz Reader Meter will track how many books kids read throughout the summer, and for every book read, Scholastic will donate a book to "KIDS," the Kids in Distressed Situations charity. Other features of the campaign include book trivia quizzes, e-cards, message boards, word hunts, and weekly polls.

Parents will find advice on how to prevent the "Summer Slump," with age-appropriate booklists, interactive tours on "How to Make Your Home Reading Central," topical articles, special discounts from The Scholastic Store Online, and more. Parents can also find virtual instructional videos that will also be posted on the site to demonstrate the best ways to read aloud to children.

There is also a special site for librarians and teachers with bulletin board decorations, printable summer reading logs, posters, and bookmarks. Librarians can also find special age appropriate summer book lists to share with parents and kids and a list of featured books especially for libraries.

Source: Scholastic, Inc., http://www.scholastic.com

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CoSN Joins Online Student Safety Partnership

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is participating in a new initiative designed to educate American teens about online safety. The "Help Keep Kids Connected and Protected" campaign, managed by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), combines the expertise and resources of U.S. government agencies, education organizations and consumer advocates.

The project includes "An Educator, Parent and Guardian's Guide: How to Teach Young People Safe Online Practices," available online at http://www.staysafeonline.org/.

The guide offers tips on social networking and safe online practices that teachers or parents can communicate to students and teens. Also included are security and safety tips that parents can use at home.

CoSN is incorporating the NCSA guidelines into its Cyber Security for the Digital District project. The guidelines will become a component of the Cyber Security Tool Kit for technology leaders, for use with district leaders, teachers and students.

The CoSN Cyber Security project provides materials and step-by-step directions designed to help districts assess the current status of online security preparations and protect networks and information.

CoSN, 866/267-8747 or http://www.cosn.org/.

National Cyber Security Alliance, http://www.staysafeonline.org/.

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Cool Links: Andy Carvin’s New PBS Blog, Learning.now

The peripatetic Andy Carvin has announced in a number of venues (and we're announcing here in ours!) that PBS Online is hosting a new blog by … Andy Carvin!, called learning.now. From his anncouncement/posting on his own Waste of Bandwidth blog:

I'm very excited to announce the launch of a new blog, learning.now. This blog, which I'll be writing and editing for PBS Online, will focus on the intersection of Internet culture and education. One of the primary goals is to help guide educators through the ins and outs of what's often referred to as "Web 2.0," including blogging, podcasting, vlogging, RSS, social software and community networks. I'm planning to explore some of the creative ways students and teachers are using interactive technologies to improve learning, as well as dissect the controversies that often occur when classroom culture and online culture collide. [Full posting is HERE.]

Click HERE to go to learning.now and check it out.

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Cool Links: Another Lee Rainie/Pew Internet & American Life Project Presentation—Teens and Technology

Lee Rainie and the Pew Internet & American Life Project continue to research and report at what seems like breakneck speed, with an awful lot to say that's of interest to the library community. Rainie was at Information Today, Inc.'s Computers in Libraries conference on March 24 in Washington, DC, speaking on The Internet: Enhancing Digital Work & Play. (You can view his presentation slides by visiting the CIL "conference links" page HERE; scroll down to Friday's Keynote.)

And, get this: only the day before, March 23, he was in Boston, addressing Public Library Association conference attendees on the subject of Teens and Technology. A transcript of that talk is available in pdf form from the Pew Project's Web site, where they describe it as follows:

This is a discussion of the eight realities of technology and social experience that are shaping the world of today's teens and twenty-somethings. It looks at the growing role of technology in teens' lives, the way they use their gadgets, their expectations about how to find and use information, and the social consequences of their use of technology.

As always, Rainie is prescient and fascinating. Click HERE to link to the Pew page that lets you view the speech.

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Sub-IT Offers Automated Substitute Teacher Placement

Sub-IT, a telephone and Internet-based automated substitute placement system, helps schools quickly find and assign substitute teachers to fill classroom vacancies.

Teachers can notify schools of their absences by telephone or with Internet access. The program then selects substitutes, contacts them, and matches their phone or Internet responses with available vacancies.

Teachers can choose a substitute by name, specialized degree, availability, or a combination of criteria. They can enter lesson plans into the system for use when they are out of the classroom. Substitutes can enter placement criteria, including preferred grades, buildings, locations, and days available or unavailable.

Customized reporting tools enable administrators to quickly see a day's open and filled positions. The system can be adapted to any district's procedural requirements; reporting tools provide the ability to track a variety of trends.

Sub-IT is Web-based, all information is housed on the Central Xchange remote server, and no installation is required at the school or district level.

 Central Xchange, 888/364-8998 or http://www.centralxchange.com/.

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NWEA Creates New K-2 Assessment

MAP for Primary Grades, newly released by Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), provides a computer-based adaptive assessment for students in grades K-2.

The program includes two early reading and two math assessments, as well as a variety of teacher and administrator reports. In the fall, MAP for Primary Grades will include prerequisite tests and skills checklist tests to support intake testing and student placement.

Like all NWEA assessments, the program is based on the Association's RIT scale. The scale enables educators to measure growth independent of grade level and to evaluate and compare performance data across years.

The MAP for Primary Grades program extends the use of the NWEA RIT scale from Kindergarten through high school. The MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) program, available for many years, uses the RIT scale for assessments for grades 2 through high school.

Source: Northwest Evaluation Association, 503/624-1951 or http://www.nwea.org/

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Crick Software's Clicker 5 Now Available for Mac OSX

Crick Software's Clicker 5 K-6 writing and creativity tool is now available in a Macintosh edition. The software supports early readers and writers, including struggling learners and those requiring adaptive technology.

Clicker 5 for Macintosh OSX enables users to work in all types of multimedia, including digital photos, MP3 files, and QuickTime movies. The program is partnered by Crick's LearningGrids Web site and free online curriculum materials.

The software is fully accessible for learners with special physical needs. Switch users can create their own talking books and can record their own sounds. A new speech engine provides natural-sounding speech.

Pricing begins at $199 for a single user version. Lab pack and site license pricing is available.

Source: Crick Software, 866/332-2745 or http://www.cricksoft.com/us/

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LeapFrog SchoolHouse Announces LeapTrack Reading Pro

LeapFrog SchoolHouse has announced LeapTrack Reading Pro, a research-based program designed to deliver engaging, targeted reading intervention for struggling readers in grades 3-6. The program provides intensive, individualized, technology-based instruction in reading, writing, and various content areas, with interactive Quantum LeapPad personal learning tools serving as "tutors" both in school and outside of the classroom, according to the announcement.

The system's framework includes an initial placement test to set students on a personalized learning path; system-generated alerts to signal required intervention at appropriate levels; and ongoing formative assessment that provides information about student progress. Reading Pro provides student reports suited for self-directed learning and for monitoring one's own progress; additional progress reports and achievement alerts allow educators to strategically adjust or supplement instruction as needed.

LeapTrack Reading Pro is available for shipment in June. For more information, visit http://www.leaptrack.com/readingpro.

Source: LeapFrog SchoolHouse, http://www.leaptrack.com

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Software Programs from Tom Snyder Productions Included in New Apple Digital Learning Series

Tom Snyder Productions has announced that two of its software programs will be included in the recently launched Apple Digital Learning Series, a collection of value-priced curriculum solutions designed to increase achievement in key curriculum areas. Each Apple Digital Learning Series consists of research-based educational software and tools created by leading education developers and recommended by educators, according to the announcement. Tom Snyder's GO Solve Word Problems and The Graph Club will be included in the Elementary Math package.

The company also announced that it will release the new Universal versions of GO Solve Word Problems and The Graph Club that will run natively on Apple's Intel-based Macs.

The Tom Snyder Productions programs focus on critical elementary math concepts. GO Solve Word Problems teaches students to become better problem solvers by showing them how to recognize mathematical situations in word problems, comprehend problems with the aid of graphic organizers, and give students ways to solve problems with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, the announcement states. Graph Club is a software tool for creating, exploring, interpreting, and printing graphs. The program's hands-on environment is intended to help young students make the transition from graphing with manipulatives to graphing in the abstract.

For more information on GO Solve Word Problems, The Graph Club and other programs from Tom Snyder Productions, visit http://www.tomsnyder.com. And for more information on the Apple Digital Learning Series, visit http://www.apple.com/education/adls.

Source: Tom Snyder Productions, Inc., a Scholastic company, http://www.tomsnyder.com

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Knowledge Adventure Teacher Awards Program to Honor Innovative Classroom Educators

Knowledge Adventure has announced the 2006 Knowledge Adventure Teacher Awards Program, an essay competition open to K-12 educators who are using technology to help students excel in the classroom.

To enter, educators go to the Knowledge Adventure Web site and complete an online entry form, which includes a brief essay on how the nominee is using technology to help his/her students succeed in their academic endeavors. Each month, running through January 2007, a panel of industry experts will review entries and select one submission for a Knowledge Adventure Teacher of the Month award. The monthly winner will be provided their choice of one site license of any product from the current Knowledge Adventure catalog, excluding Reading Readiness.

In January 2007, the Knowledge Adventure Teacher of the Year will be chosen from all eligible essays submitted. The grand prize winner will receive, for the school of his or her choice, a computer lab complete with eight computers equipped with an entire library of Knowledge Adventure software. The prize package is valued at $10,000 and also includes one full day of training for the winning teacher and all staff from the same school site.

Guidelines, complete contest rules, eligibility requirements, and entry information are available at http://www.knowledgeadventureschool.com/promo/tom.

Source: Knowledge Adventure, http://www.knowledgeadventureschool.com

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PLATO Learning Introduces New Straight Curve Product Line

PLATO Learning has announced the introduction of Straight Curve, a new product line focusing on empowering classroom teachers, supplementing and delving deeper into core textbook lessons, and leveraging technology to bring on-grade-level and advanced instruction to life for students, according to the announcement.

Now in beta test in classrooms across the U.S., the first Straight Curve product—Straight Curve Mathematics Series 2—is scheduled for release in summer 2006. Straight Curve Mathematics Series 2 provides lessons for grades 3-5 in the areas identified by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) as most complex for students to learn and teachers to teach—fractions, decimals, measurement, probability, and problem solving.

Straight Curve Mathematics Series 2 is the first of many products planned for development and release under the Straight Curve brand. Straight Curve curricula will include teacher materials and professional development to expand teacher capacity and provide the resources they need to enrich classroom instruction using technology, the announcement states.

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

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