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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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July 05, 2006

Table of Contents

Laura Bush Announces More Than $20 Million in Librarian Recruitment and Education Grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services
H.W. Wilson Announces Biography Index: Past & Present
Tom Snyder Productions Offers Interactive Whiteboard-Friendly Products
CDW-G’s Teachers Talk Tech Survey Released
Discovery Education’s Cosmeo Helps Kids Explore the Fun of Summer
EBSCO To Release Education Research Complete
SirsiDynix K-12 SchoolRooms Project
NetSupport Announces Desktop Security Software, NetSupport Protect
Free Resources: ‘Internet Detective’ Tutorial for Critical Thinking in Research

Laura Bush Announces More Than $20 Million in Librarian Recruitment and Education Grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

First Lady Laura Bush recently announced $20,869,145 in grants from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Thirty-five awards will go to universities, libraries, and library organizations across the country today to recruit and educate librarians. The grants are designed to help offset a current shortage of school library media specialists, library school faculty, and librarians working in underserved communities, as well a looming shortage of library directors and other senior librarians, many of whom are expected to retire in the next 20 years.

The First Lady made the announcement on June 26th in New Orleans at the American Library Association's annual convention during a national town hall meeting of local and national government officials, educators, and business leaders, and an audience of thousands of librarians. The meeting, School Libraries Work: Rebuilding for Learning, focused on the essential role school libraries and librarians play in restoring learning and reuniting community in times of crises.

The grants benefit 26 doctoral, 361 master's, 3,201 continuing education, and 289 pre-professional students across the country. Since First Lady Laura Bush first announced the President would support a multi-million initiative to recruit new librarians in 2002, the Institute has funded 1,898 master's degree students, 145 doctoral students, 949 pre-professional students, and 3,579 continuing education students. The multi-faceted grant program supports tuition assistance, curriculum development, service expectations, job placement, recruitment of non-traditional library students, support for doctoral candidates to teach library science, and research.

Source: Institute of Museum and Library Services, http://www.imls.gov

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H.W. Wilson Announces Biography Index: Past & Present

H.W. Wilson has announced a new version of Biography Index that combines the resource's full six-decade history of in-depth article indexing with coverage up to the present. Biography Index: Past & Present delivers the complete content of Biography Index from its 1946 inception, and continues its timely indexing of current articles with daily updates. WilsonWeb searching helps researchers find information about notable figures throughout history, right up to today's newsmakers, the announcement states.

Intended for students, scholars, media professionals, and other researchers, the database covers people from across all disciplines and areas of endeavor. Information on writers, artists, statesmen, sports figures, politicians, religious leaders, actors, business people, and more is reflected in over a million article citations from thousands of periodicals internationally, plus notable books indexed back to 1946. New citations, some 22,000 per year, are picked up from biographical content appearing in more than 8,000 journals and magazines covered by other WilsonWeb specialty databases, plus indexing of some 2,000 books annually.

For researchers seeking insights on historical figures that can come only from articles that reflect the sensibilities of the times in which they were written, this is a valuable resource, according to the announcement. Updated terms for professions allow users to search using familiar, contemporary vocabulary. Names used as subject headings are standardized throughout the years of coverage to ensure retrieval of all records about an individual. Citations for new articles about historical figures can be called up with historical coverage, for all-in-one research.

The database can be searched seamlessly with Wilson's Biography Reference Bank database, providing full-text narrative profiles for many of the people covered in Biography Index: Past & Present.

Biography Index: Past & Present <http://www.hwwilson.com/Databases/bioind_retro.htm> is offered exclusively on WilsonWeb. Free 30-day trials are available. The reference standard Biography Index, with coverage from 1984 through the present, remains available as a WilsonWeb database and in print.

Source: H.W. Wilson, http://www.hwwilson.com

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Tom Snyder Productions Offers Interactive Whiteboard-Friendly Products

Tom Snyder Productions has announced the creation of a series of online guides to help educators use several of its software programs with interactive whiteboards and projectors. GO Solve Word Problems, Science Court, Reading for Meaning, and Decisions, Decisions 5.0 are among many of the company's titles that encourage whole-class instruction and student participation, making them ideal for classrooms with interactive whiteboards or projectors, the announcement states.

Tom Snyder Productions' interactive whiteboard-friendly products cover all core content areas, including math, science, language arts, and social studies. Using these programs, teachers enrich classroom lessons with visualization and discussion, and can engage students with diverse learning styles through the power of multimedia, according to the announcement.

For more information or to download whiteboard product guides, visit http://www.tomsnyder.com/whiteboards.

Source: Tom Snyder Productions, http://www.tomsnyder.com

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CDW-G’s Teachers Talk Tech Survey Released

CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G) has announced the results of the 2006 Teachers Talk Tech survey. The survey of more than 1,000 K-12 teachers across the country revealed that deeper integration of technology and the core curriculum enhances both teacher and student performance. The survey also indicates that with improved technology-related professional development, the gap between technology and the core curriculum shrinks, allowing near-seamless integration of the two. When teachers understand the technology tools available to them, they are more likely to integrate technology into lessons, assignments, and projects, resulting in better performance and students armed with 21st century skills, according to the announcement.

Teachers Talk Tech 2006, conducted by Quality Education Data (QED), a subsidiary of Scholastic, Inc., reveals that:

* Technology is bridging the gap between 21st century skills and the core curriculum.
* The teaching process is fundamentally changing as professional development takes teachers from learning how computers work to using technology to change how they teach.
* Teachers believe technology is increasingly influencing how they teach thinking and learning skills to develop lifelong learners.
* Education is today where businesses were 20 years ago - on the cusp of radically transforming their fundamental environments.

Teachers Talk Tech finds that technology-related professional development is key to understanding and integrating technology in the classroom. In 2006, 48 percent of teachers reported receiving eight or more hours of professional development in the last 12 months, yet nearly one-fifth of teachers reported receiving no technology training at all. When evaluating the data based on the number of hours of technology-related professional development received, the more training teachers received, the more they see technology as an effective classroom tool for analyzing information, addressing critical thinking skills, and learning scientific concepts. These same teachers are also more likely to teach 21st century skills and see a positive impact of technology with their students.

Teachers Talk Tech finds that four out of five teachers believe technology is a critical tool for their job. There continues to be a strong use of technology for administrative basics like grades and attendance (88 percent) and communication (86 percent). More importantly, the survey reveals an increase in teachers' use of technology for lesson preparation (81 percent) and as a tool to teach students (79 percent). The use of these tools leads to more technology integration and offers students more opportunities to reap the benefits of classroom technology.

Teachers in the 2006 survey also say that their technology skills are improving, with 63 percent of teachers reporting that they have "somewhat advanced" to "advanced" technology skills, up from 47 percent in the first Teachers Talk Tech survey in 2003. Only 2 percent of teachers rate themselves as "beginners," down from a high of 9 percent in 2004. In addition to improving technology skills, three-quarters of teachers consider themselves "competent" or "highly competent" when using technology as an instructional tool for student assessments, evaluations and developing critical thinking skills. These skills are crucial to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) compliance and allow teachers and administrators to easily measure and react to student performance.

Half of the teachers surveyed indicated that technology access, time and budget are the top three factors holding them back from fully integrating technology into the daily curriculum. The survey indicates teachers want to spend more time with technology, have better access to computers that work and the budget to purchase reliable technology. The survey also found that elementary school teachers struggle more with finding the time to integrate technology, while middle and high school teachers struggle more with access to technology.

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.cdwg.com/TTT.

Source: CDW-G, http://www.cdwg.com

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Discovery Education’s Cosmeo Helps Kids Explore the Fun of Summer

Whether it's a virtual road trip to the national parks or fast facts to complement the latest summer movie, Discovery Education's Cosmeo—an online learning service for kids—provides a new way to kick off the summer with Cosmeo Summer Explorations. Starting today, Cosmeo users will find fun, interactive activities for every grade level throughout the summer, plus a range of other summer projects that stimulate learning, according to Discovery Education's announcement.

Cosmeo's summer explorations, which are highlighted in a special section on the home page of the Cosmeo Web site, include activities designed to keep learning fresh during the summer months. The site also features a "Hotbox" of other summer learning activities, including animated stories for younger kids, back yard science projects, a screening room with video content that adds dimension to the latest summer movie, and more.

Each summer exploration will help kids take advantage of Cosmeo's 30,000 educational videos, 15,000 interactive quizzes, 200 brain games, and other educational articles and materials. Cosmeo's summer features will also help kids embrace learning opportunities when they travel on family vacations, discover new ways to celebrate holidays such as the Fourth of July, and explore their own interests in greater depth, the announcement states.

Cosmeo users can log into their accounts at http://www.cosmeo.com to access the Cosmeo summer activities. New users can access the games and other Cosmeo learning tools by signing up for a free 30-day trial. After the trial period, Cosmeo is available for the introductory price of $9.95 per month or $99 per year. Visit http://www.cosmeo.com/accountSignUp for more details.

Source: Discovery Education, http://www.discoveryeducation.com

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EBSCO To Release Education Research Complete

At the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in New Orleans this week, EBSCO Publishing announced the upcoming release of Education Research Complete.

The bibliographic and full-text database features scholarly research and information relating to all areas of education. Topics include all levels of education—from early childhood to higher education—and all educational specialties, from multilingual education to health education to testing.

Education Research Complete covers curriculum instruction, as well as administration, policy, funding and related social issues. The database provides 750 full-text titles, indexing and abstracts for more than 1,500 journals, full text for more than 100 books and monographs and full text for education-related conference papers.

EBSCO Publishing, 800/653-2726 or http://www.ebsco.com/.

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SirsiDynix K-12 SchoolRooms Project

SirsiDynix and INFOhio, the Information Network for Ohio Schools, announced that 140 librarians and educators in Ohio are creating content for SirsiDynix SchoolRooms.

Developed by SirsiDynix in collaboration with INFOhio, SchoolRooms is a new online discovery portal for K-12 students, teachers and parents. The SchoolRooms content, designed to meet national and state standards for all K-12 subject areas, will be completed in August 2006.

The SchoolRooms portal provides a single student-friendly interface to content from a school library catalog, other public library catalogs, online databases, e-content from publishers, popular Internet search engine results and teacher-selected Web sites.

Based on the SirsiDynix Rooms content management platform, SchoolRooms presents material in virtual rooms designed to help students discover information, provide educators with access to quality materials and enable parents to find appropriate resources.

During the summer, the contributing librarians and educators will divide into teams and participate in workshops to create dozens of virtual rooms covering K-12 curriculum in areas including Fine Arts, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Additional virtual rooms will be created for Children's and Young Adult Literature, Career Exploration and College Preparation, Literacy and Research, Technology and an Educator's Library.

SirsiDynix, 800/917-4774 or http://www.sirsidynix.com/.

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NetSupport Announces Desktop Security Software, NetSupport Protect

NetSupport, Ltd., has announced NetSupport Protect desktop security software, designed for technology professionals to protect their Windows operating systems and desktops from unwanted or malicious changes. NetSupport Protect provides a secure, reliable, and productive computer environment ideal for shared use systems and the classroom, the announcement states.

NetSupport Protect provides a proactive solution to the challenges faced. The philosophy of the product is to prevent changes to the desktop environment and avoid the need to rely on repair-based solutions.

NetSupport Protect has been optimized to recognize that children want to learn, and often the best way is to experiment. Unfortunately, lab computers may be used four or five times a day for different classes, and as such, schools can't afford for them to endure too much practical experimentation.

Using NetSupport Protect, IT staff can create a secure desktop environment where system configuration and access from external sources are protected, where users can utilize available applications but are shielded from system resources and the temptation of investigating the workings of the desktop.

NetSupport Protect is created from the makers of NetSupport Manager, a remote control and management solution, and of NetSupport School classroom instruction and monitoring software.

For more information and to download a free trial license, visit http://www.netsupportprotect.com.

Source: NetSupport, Ltd., http://www.netsupportprotect.com

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Free Resources: ‘Internet Detective’ Tutorial for Critical Thinking in Research

Internet Detective, a free online tutorial designed to help students develop the critical thinking required for their Internet research, has been relaunched. Created through a partnership between the Institute for Learning and Research Technology at the University of Bristol and the Department of Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University, both in the U.K., it is available in the RDN Virtual Training Suite at http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/detective/.

The tutorial offers practical advice on evaluating the quality of Web sites and highlights the need for care when selecting online information sources to inform academic work.

The tutorial adopts a film noir detective metaphor to offer a light-hearted guide to developing Internet skills in support of studying and research. It takes approximately an hour to complete and is divided into the following five sections:

What's the Story? - aims to help students recognize the need to develop advanced Internet skills for university and college work.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - explains why information quality is an issue on the Web, especially for academic research, and raises awareness of Internet hoaxes and scams.

Detective Work -gives hints and tips that help students evaluate information found on the Internet.

Get on the Case - enables students to try out their Internet Detective skills with practical exercises.

Keep the Right Side of the Law - warns students about the dangers of plagiarism, copyright, and incorrect use of citations and referencing.

Internet Detective was originally developed in 1998 with funding from the European Union and was translated into a number of languages by national libraries and research organizations. The original version was withdrawn in 2005, but there was a high demand for its return, as issues of information quality and overload on the Internet persist.

The new version is part of the RDN Virtual Training Suite. It was developed from JISC, the HEFCE Learn Higher project (CETL) and the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Information and Computer Sciences.

Source: Institute for Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol, http://www.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/

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