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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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August 29, 2006

Table of Contents

Cool Links: Colonial Williamsburg is a Podcaster
Free Resources: Instructional Classification Toolkit for School Library Media Specialists
Free Resources: AASL Announces New Reading Grant
Free Resources: National Geographic Online Looks at Lions, Caves, and Shoes
ISTE Publishes 1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs That Work
EBSCO Publishing and ABC-CLIO Announce New Partnership
Cool Links: About the Knowledge Media Laboratory
Pearson Assessments, Pearson Longman Collaborate on Assessment Tool for English Language Learners
Follett and Findaway World Partner to Distribute Playaway Digital Audiobooks to K-12
Follett Digital Resources Acquires Interactive Constructs, Inc.

Cool Links: Colonial Williamsburg is a Podcaster

Colonial Williamsburg online offers free podcasts examining the city's rich heritage, past and present. The podcasts are available as RSS feeds, MP3 files and in transcript form.

Four Independence Day podcasts are provided: Thomas Jefferson vs. Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson on Religion, Patrick Henry on Religion and Declaration of Independence.

A total of 30 current behind-the-scenes podcasts examine the city and its inhabitants, with titles including:

A Fourth Generation Cabinetmaker

Colonial Williamsburg's Storytelling Festival

Milliner and Mantua Maker

Williamsburg's Public Gaol

Law & Order

Mr. Wythe's Cook

The Revolutionary City

Marquis de Lafayette

Telling the Story of Colonial Women

Also available is an archive of 2005 podcasts, covering subjects from colonial food preparation to individuals including Lady Dunmore and Patrick Henry.

The podcast interviews are conducted by former national television correspondent Lloyd Dobyns. They are located online at http://www.history.org/media/podcasts.cfm.

Colonial Williamsburg, http://www.history.org/.

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Free Resources: Instructional Classification Toolkit for School Library Media Specialists

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association, published a set of new advocacy tools developed to address the issue of the categorization of school library media specialists as "non-instructional."

The Instructional Classification Toolkit was designed to help school library media specialists advocate their role as educators within their schools and districts, as well as to provide talking points for use in opposing the "65 percent solution" legislation that threatens funding for school library media services on the state level.

The legislation, under consideration in many states, requires that 65 percent of all funding for schools be spent on "direct classroom instruction." Supporters of the proposed bill are urging states to use the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) categories to define direct classroom instruction. In that categorization, expenses for school library media services are listed as "support services - instruction," which excludes them from the proposed funding formula.

The Instructional Classification Toolkit contains an extensive FAQ section, a link to the AASL position statement on instructional classification, a sample op-ed piece, sample letter to the editor and a fact sheet. The toolkit is located online at http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslproftools/toolkits/.

AASL/ALA, 800/545-2433 or http://www.ala.org/.

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Free Resources: AASL Announces New Reading Grant

The American Association of School Libraries (AASL), a division of the American Library Association, has launched the AASL Innovative Reading Grant.

Sponsored by Coughlan Publishing, the $2,500 grant will support the planning and implementation of a "unique and innovative" program for students designed to motivate and encourage reading, especially with struggling readers.

The grant is designed to fund K-9 literacy projects that promote the importance of reading and encourage literacy development by supporting current reading research, practice and policy. Projects must demonstrate the potential to improve student learning and reading skill growth. Program proposals must include a timeline, budget and statement of purpose.

Complete information and the grant application will be available online September 1 at http://www.ala.org/aasl/awards. The submission deadline is February 1, 2007.

AASL/ALA, 800/545-2433 or http://www.ala.org/aasl/.

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Free Resources: National Geographic Online Looks at Lions, Caves, and Shoes

Travel from Botswana to New Guinea to China to the bottom of your closet on ngm.com.

A video look at Botswana's lions provides a glimpse of rarely-witnessed behavior in the predator-prey relationship between a pride of lions and a herd of Cape buffalo on a marshy island in Botswana's Okavango Delta.

Caving is explored on an island off Papua New Guinea as a team follows a white-water river that vanishes into a limestone cave. Underground, the explorers discover waterfalls and theater-size chambers. Online video shows turbulent rivers and waterfalls churning through tunnels and chambers formed by an upswelling of hot acidic water and drainage from heavy rains.

Watch what lies ahead for the revitalization of China's Dongbei region as the country gears up to turn its northwestern rust belt, once the centerpiece of Chairman Mao's planned economy, into the country's next engine of growth.

Have some fun with "The Joy of Shoes." Check out the article on everything from moccasins to Manolos. We spend most of our waking lives in shoes and they may teach us something about our culture, our history and ourselves. Stop by the Forum and share a favorite shoe story.

National Geographic, http://www.ngm.com/.

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ISTE Publishes 1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs That Work

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has published "1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs That Work," a comprehensive guide for planning, implementing, and managing successful laptop programs in the classroom.
 
When every student has a laptop or handheld computer, it opens a whole new world of instructional possibility, the ISTE announcement notes. Laptops offer immediate access to search engines, spreadsheets, and online databases. This access gives students more time to synthesize, analyze, and evaluate - developing the higher-order thinking skills necessary for success in education, work, and life. "1-to-1 Learning" compiles practical how-to information for initiating laptop programs, as well as experiences, strategies, and lessons from pioneers in one-to-one laptop projects.
 
"1-to-1 Learning" offers suggestions for:
* Forming an effective and inclusive planning committee
* Choosing hardware and software that integrates well with existing systems
* Selecting the most cost-effective purchasing, support and funding options
* Anticipating and overcoming logistical challenges
* Planning professional development activities that encourage teacher buy-in.
 
"1-to-1 Learning" is intended for grade 6-12 teachers, technology coordinators, curriculum developers, teacher educators, site planners, and district administrators. It may be purchased online for $31.95 for ISTE members and $34.95 for nonmembers.
 
More information about the book as well as a free downloadable excerpt and the table of contents are available at http://www.iste.org/store.
 
Source: The International Society for Technology in Education, http://www.iste.org/

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EBSCO Publishing and ABC-CLIO Announce New Partnership

EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) and ABC-CLIO have announced a partnership to benefit mutual customers of EBSCO's and ABC-CLIO's online databases. Users of ABC-CLIO's Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life databases can now link directly from relevant journal article citations in those resources to the corresponding full text in EBSCO's online databases via EBSCOhost.

With this partnership, customers of EBSCOhost full-text databases and ABC-CLIO indexes will not need a link resolver to access full text from databases such as Academic Search through indexes such as Historical Abstracts. There will be no additional charge for this new feature.

In addition to producing many research databases (including many with full text), EBSCO provides access to other resources from additional database providers. In other cases, where the leading online index is not available via the EBSCOhost platform (such as ABC-CLIO's Historical Abstracts), EBSCO strives to make its full-text content readily available to users of that index that are also EBSCOhost customers through a simple and direct link. In addition to the ABC-CLIO databases, EBSCO also offers such linking for Chemical Abstracts and Zynx Health's suite of evidence-based clinical decision support tools.

Source: EBSCO Publishing, http://www.epnet.com; ABC-CLIO, http://www.abc-clio.com

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Cool Links: About the Knowledge Media Laboratory

Here's a hot Cool Link about the Knowledge Media Laboratory, thanks to the Internet Scout Project's Scout Report. It comes from a Scout Report issued earlier this summer. Part of that report:

How do students learn in the classroom? How can teachers best utilize new and emerging technologies in the classroom? What can teachers do to seamlessly incorporate technology into the learning experience? These are all questions that are asked by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's Knowledge Media Laboratory. On their website, users can learn about their work with communities of teachers, faculty, programs, and institutions over the past several years, and also look over some of their informative case studies…

Be sure to check out the full Scout Report description HERE. And then visit the actual Knowledge Media Laboratory site HERE.

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Pearson Assessments, Pearson Longman Collaborate on Assessment Tool for English Language Learners

Pearson Assessments and Pearson Longman have announced Prosper for Shining Star, a comprehensive technology tool for use with Pearson Longman's Shining Star program. Developed by Pearson Assessments, Prosper for Shining Star combines the assessment system's test scoring technology with the standards-based curriculum offered through Shining Star.

Shining Star is a five-level program specifically designed for English language learners in grades 6-12. The program gives students support for mastering reading, writing, literature, and content, within a systematic language development framework.

Based on the Prosper assessment system, Prosper for Shining Star streamlines the testing process with ready-made tests for each learning level, according to the announcement. Using preloaded answer keys, teachers can immediately score the tests available in the Shining Star assessment guides. Prosper for Shining Star analyzes test data and provides results so teachers can readily identify effective teaching techniques and intervene promptly to address learning gaps. The system generates a variety of reports, including individual reports on student progress, standards/skill summaries, class summaries, cumulative reports, and comparison reports.

Prosper for Shining Star is available from Pearson Longman as an ancillary to the Shining Star textbooks from Pearson Assessments. For more information, visit http://www.longman.com/shiningstar or http://www.pearsonassessments.com/textbook-program.

Source: Pearson Assessments, http://www.pearsonassessments.com; Pearson Longman, http://www.longmanusa.com

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Follett and Findaway World Partner to Distribute Playaway Digital Audiobooks to K-12

Follett Corporation and Findaway World (Findaway) have announced a partnership that will allow distribution of Playaway digital audiobooks to K-12 schools and public libraries. Playaway is a self-playing digital audiobook, a "self-contained audio equivalent of a book," according to the announcement, that is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Follett Corporation companies Follett Library Resources and BWI will partner with Findaway to distribute the Playaway through their distribution channels, securing the digital technology format's position in the K-12 school and public library marketplace.

Agreement components include promotion of the partnership at the local, state, and national level and front-of-page visibility on Follett Library Resources and BWI online resources' Titlewave and TitleTales.

Findaway currently has licensing agreements with several leading publishers and content owners, including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penton Overseas, Brilliance Audio, Franklin Covey, Random House and Recorded Books. Playaway's audiobook collection currently totals more than 90 titles, including the following children's classics:

* Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Caroll
* Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
* The Call of the Wild, Jack London
* Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
* Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
* The Iliad, Homer
* Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
* The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane
* The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
* The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
* A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

For more information on the Playaway device and a link to a brochure containing a complete listing of available titles from Follett Library Resources, visit http://www.flr.follett.com/intro/playaway.html.

Source: Follett Library Resources, http://www.flr.follett.com; BWI, http://www.bwibooks.com

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Follett Digital Resources Acquires Interactive Constructs, Inc.

Follett Digital Resources, which was formed in October 2005 to provide solutions and services for distributing digital content, has announced that it has acquired Interactive Constructs, Inc. (ICI), a developer and provider of custom e-learning and Web publishing solutions for education and publishers. Follett Digital Resources is part of Follett Technology Solutions and International Group, one of three groups that make up Follett Corporation.

Through this acquisition, Follett Digital Resources will be better positioned to meet the growing digital delivery needs of educational publishers and schools, the announcement states. "Combining the resources of Follett and ICI, we will be better able to support our customers in delivering interactive digital content that engages learners," said Michael Johnson, Follett Digital Resources COO, in the announcement.

Interactive Constructs, Inc. will remain in Medford, Massachusetts and operate as a subsidiary of Follett Digital Resources. Kevin Polk, ICI's founder and President, will become Follett Digital Resources' Vice President of Educational Technology and will report to Michael Johnson.

Source: Follett Digital Resources/Follett Corporation, http://www.follett.com/

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