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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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September 12, 2006

Table of Contents

Free Resources: NASA Space Place Podcasts
MMIS Xtra News: Internet@Schools West Group Pricing—Bring a Friend, Get Deep Discounts!
MMISXtra News: Internet@Schools East 2007 Call for Speakers is Out
BrainPOP Launches BrainPOP Junior for Kids K-3
Cool Links: Fall and Winter University of Wisconsin-Stout Online Classes for Librarians
Inspiration Software Launches 2007 Inspired Teacher Scholarships for Visual Learning
SirsiDynix Forms New Team to Deliver K-12 Market Solutions
Scholastic’s Grolier Online Offers Lexile Measures for More Than 115,000 Articles
World Book, Inc. Introduces World Book Kids Online
Vantage Learning Releases New Version of MY Access!
Voyager Launches Passport Reading Journeys: Beginnings
EBSCO’s NoveList Offers First Chapters Web Site Revised

Free Resources: NASA Space Place Podcasts

The Education and Public Outreach folks at the NASA New Millennium Program sent us this notice recently. Read it, then listen!

Podcasts: Space Place To Go!

No time to think about the wonders of the universe, much less how to explain them in a simple way to your students? Sign up for the new Space Place Podcast. Listen when you have time. In each Podcast, a NASA scientist answers fascinating questions about space and Earth science, with a little technology thrown in. Go to to subscribe. Or you can listen now on your computer or read the transcripts. Best of all, you can listen while you go for a walk, looking up at the beautiful night sky and thinking about all that is out there, known and unknown.

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MMIS Xtra News: Internet@Schools West Group Pricing—Bring a Friend, Get Deep Discounts!

Internet@Schools West 2006
October 23-24, 2006
Monterey, CA

Register by September 29, to receive the discounted registration price, PLUS bring a colleague for only $99!

Internet@Schools West is the conference for K-12 library media and technology specialists. This information packed event was designed to meet the needs of school librarians, and will give you a technology "infoboost" that will inspire you and serve you well back at your school or media center. You will leave with solutions you can use NOW in your school library. Here are just some of the session topics to be covered:

  • Grabbing Attention: Keeping Pace with Readers and Technology
  • Social Networking Sites and Personal Information Engines
  • Teachers, Librarians, and Technology: A Winning Combination!
  • The Evolving Librarian: Keeping Pace with Students and Technology
  • iPods, Audiobooks, E-Books, and More: Empowering Reading Through Your Library

For more information on Internet@Schools West, go to

Keynote Speakers
Monday Opening Keynote
Grabbing Attention: Keeping Pace with Readers and Technology
J.A. Jance, Author, The Edge of Evil and many J.P. Beaumont and Joanna Brady mysteries
Jance, a mystery writer and former K-12 school librarian, discusses how to incorporate new technologies such as blogs into her material, and shares where she gets her inspiration for her books as well as how she knows what people are interested in reading.

Tuesday Opening Keynote
The Wild, Wild Web: Online Bullies, Predators, and Stalkers, Oh My!
Jayne Hitchcock, WHOA (Working to Halt Online Abuse)--Kids/Teen Division, Dover, NH
Hitchcock will help you to help students being bullied and harassed online, and discusses the dangers students face by putting too much personal information in their blogs and on social networking sights.

Tuesday Closing Keynote
Gary's Latest Web Research Update
Gary Price, ResourceShelf and, Washington, D.C.
Web Search guru Gary Price tells you what is happening with the big name Web Search players. Price will also talk about how you can make your online work easier and more productive, as well as discuss specialized databases.

All attendees are welcome to visit the Internet Librarian exhibit hall, where you can check out the latest products and services from vendors in the library industry.
The grand opening reception in the Exhibit Hall will be Monday, October 23 from 5-7 p.m., and is the perfect place to meet new colleagues, gather will fellow librarians, and sample tasty treats!

Don't forget to register by September 29 to receive the early-bird discount of $199 and remember to bring additional persons from your organization for only $99 per person! Go online to and register now!

See you in Monterey!

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MMISXtra News: Internet@Schools East 2007 Call for Speakers is Out

Call for Speakers

Internet@Schools East
April 16-17, 2007
Washington, DC
Deadline: October 1, 2006

We're now seeking presenters for the Internet at Schools East conference, to be held in the Washington, DC, area April 16-17, 2007. Sponsored by MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools magazine, the conference covers practical and timely technology-related topics and technology-based tools and resources for K-12 media and technology specialists. It is held in conjunction with Computers in Libraries 2007.

If you're a K-12 library media or technology specialist with information technology and the Internet on your mind, we'd like you to be a part of our 2007 Internet@Schools East conference. Are you running an innovative program through your school media or technology center that is helping your students learn or your teachers teach? Are you willing to share your practical tips, tools, or techniques about using technology and the Internet in schools? Then please consider volunteering to speak at Internet@Schools East.

All speakers receive a full, complimentary registration toe the I@SE conference as well as to Computers in Libraries 2007, plus great recognition from their peers. So think over your latest success stories or technology ventures and go to to learn more and to submit a proposal.

Thanks! We look forward to hearing from you soon. The deadline for proposals is October 1, so think quickly and send in your ideas! And tell your professional colleagues friends, too!

David Hoffman

Editor, Multimedia & Internet@Schools
Program Chair, Internet@Schools East

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BrainPOP Launches BrainPOP Junior for Kids K-3

BrainPOP has announced the launch of BrainPOP Jr., a learning program specifically geared for children between 5 and 8 years old. Topics in BrainPOP Jr. are chosen to correlate with national standards and testing mandates but are written in fun and understandable language for children.

The newly created movies on BrainPOP Jr. range in topic from the food pyramid and allergies to animal hibernation and telling time. The audio-assisted, kid-friendly navigation allows young children to move through various sections, including science, health, reading, writing, social studies, and math. Each animated movie is also supplemented with quizzes that are read aloud, as well as games and other features to assist teachers and parents.

Developed to be used by families at home and as part of lesson plans at school, BrainPOP Jr. allows users to customize the pacing of the movies and to give children the chance to answer questions independently or make predictions before proceeding, according to the announcement.

For a limited time, BrainPOP Jr. ( is offering a free subscription to view and experience its content, which includes five-minute movies and a notebook feature corresponding to the content. The Web-based product will be updated continuously.

Source: BrainPOP,

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Cool Links: Fall and Winter University of Wisconsin-Stout Online Classes for Librarians

We posted a Cool Link last June to the University of Wisconsin-Stout online class offerings for librarians and teachers that ran during the summer. Well, they're over now, but wait, there's more, including at least two courses taught by MMIS Media Center columnist Mary Alice Anderson. These start in September and again in January. (Remember, they are online; you can pursue them on your own schedule.) A sampling, specifically for school library media specialists:

* Advocacy and Emerging Issues for Media Specialists (taught by Mary Alice; if you're interested in advocacy issues, see also her January/February 2006 Media Center column Advocacy in Action—When Company Comes.)

* Digital Classroom: Teaching Information Literacy with Primary Sources (taught by Mary Alice)
* School Library and Classroom Collaborations
* Children's Literature in the Reading Program (grades K-5)
* Young Adult Literature in the Reading Program (grades 6-12)

Click HERE to learn more about these and the other offerings.

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Inspiration Software Launches 2007 Inspired Teacher Scholarships for Visual Learning

Inspiration Software has announced that applications for its 2007 Inspired Teacher Scholarships for Visual Learning will be available September 18. Educators can apply online or download applications from For the ninth consecutive year, the scholarships will support professional development activities for educators who champion the integration of visual learning and technology into the curriculum. Thirty scholarships, each with a value of $750, will be awarded in February 2007. Applications are due Jan. 11, 2007.

New "Best Projects" categories have been added to this year's scholarship program. One scholarship will honor the Best Project using Inspiration, a second will recognize the Best Project using Kidspiration, and the third will honor the Best Project using InspireData, the company's new tool to visualize, investigate, and understand data. Teachers who win the Best Project awards can use the $750 to purchase hardware or software for their classrooms or schools.

For the third year, five of the 30 scholarships will be awarded as Inspired Teacher Scholarship Rookie awards. To be eligible for a Rookie award, candidates must be new to visual learning and demonstrate a desire and capacity to learn and apply visual learning techniques in their classrooms.

In 2006, successful scholarship applicants included technology coordinators; school library media specialists; college and university faculty members; and elementary, middle and high school teachers from throughout the U.S. and abroad. They used the $750 scholarship award to attend a wide range of professional development activities, such as the 2006 National Educational Computing Conference, the Florida Educational Technology Conference, and regional and national conferences, training events, and professional education courses.

For more information, visit

Source: Inspiration Software, Inc.,

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SirsiDynix Forms New Team to Deliver K-12 Market Solutions

SirsiDynix has announced it is forming a new team to deliver solutions to the K-12 market segment. These solutions include SchoolRooms—an online exploration, discovery, and learning portal for students, teachers, and parents—and a simplified library management system interface that makes it easy for library media specialists to circulate, catalog and maintain their individual collections. This simplified interface is designed with a real understanding of what is needed to operate easier and more efficiently.

Chuck Leachman, who has more than 30 years of experience with K-12 libraries, will rejoin SirsiDynix to lead the team as director of SchoolRooms/K-12 Market Solutions. He will work closely with departments throughout the company to ensure SirsiDynix solutions are interactive and aligned with educational objectives. He will also assist public libraries, consortia, state libraries, and state departments of education to understand the educational benefits of SchoolRooms and how it can facilitate a more collaborative relationship between all interested parties in better serving students, teachers, and parents, according to the announcement.

Leachman joins SirsiDynix from Sagebrush Corp., where he was strategic accounts manager. He is a former president of the Alabama Special Libraries Association and has been a frequent speaker at American Library Association, Special Libraries Association and American Association of School Libraries conferences.

Source: SirsiDynix,

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Scholastic’s Grolier Online Offers Lexile Measures for More Than 115,000 Articles

MetaMetrics Inc., developer of the Lexile Framework for Reading, and Scholastic Library Publishing have announced that more than 115,000 articles in Scholastic Library Publishing's Grolier Online now have Lexile measures. The Lexile Framework provides a common scale for matching reader ability and text difficulty, allowing monitoring of student progress and ensuring reading comprehension, according to the announcement.

Grolier Online is an educational portal providing access to eight online databases, including The New Book of Knowledge, Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Americana, the Spanish-language La Nueva Enciclopedia Cumbre, and the newly launched Amazing Animals of the World, which contains articles, pictures and multimedia content on over 1,200 animals. The portal's integrated database collection and search utility provide two age-appropriate learning environments, Grolier Online Kids (for young students in grades 2-8) and Grolier Online Passport"(for grades 9-12), to simplify fact-finding for beginners and advanced users.

The addition of Lexiles makes Grolier Online an even more powerful resource for educators, as media specialists and teachers can match students with non-fiction content written at their appropriate reading level, the announcement states.

For more information about Grolier Online, visit Scholastic Library Publishing at

Source: MetaMetrics Inc.,; Scholastic Library Publishing,

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World Book, Inc. Introduces World Book Kids Online

World Book, Inc. has announced the introduction of World Book Kids, with what it calls an entirely new approach to online reference tools that reinforces children's learning through hands-on activities and helps teachers in their efforts to successfully teach to national standards.

The site starts with content from World Book's Student Discovery Encyclopedia and adds activities that apply to the thousands of articles to provide students with an active learning environment.

World Book Kids was created for students in primary grades as well as special-needs learners. It presents a learning environment that uses simple navigation, easy-to-read content, bright colors, and highly graphical presentations, including thousands of colorful illustrations and diagrams supporting the articles. Activities throughout World Book Kids are presented in three categories:

• "Think It!" - for students who respond to facts, figures and more traditional learning environments
• "Make It!" - for students who learn new concepts by creating things and seeing how they work
• "Be It!" - for students who learn from role-playing and physically connecting with a concept.

Each World Book Kids activity also is formatted with a "Teach It!" hands-on lesson plan that incorporates a variety of core curriculum subjects and provides direct correlation to national standards. It also offers resources for educators, including printable activity worksheets for use in the classroom and at home.

World Book Kids' articles include questions that, when answered correctly, reward the student with a congratulatory animation and bring them to a related topic on the site. Ultimately after exploring a few different topics, this "Play It!" feature circles students back to the original topic, allowing them to explore a variety of content while seeing the relationship between different topics.

World Book Kids is available as an added component of the World Book Online Reference Center ( available to schools and libraries throughout the U.S. and Canada. Institutions interested in subscribing should contact their World Book representative at 800-975-3250 (U.S.) or 800-837-5365 (Canada).

Source: World Book, Inc.,

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Vantage Learning Releases New Version of MY Access!

MY Access! 7.0 updates the online instructional writing tool with feature enhancements and new programs designed to help students prepare for the SAT and other standardized tests.

The new features include:

- Advanced MY Tutor and MY Editor functions to help students better understand how to improve their writing. New readability levels let educators select appropriate reading and feedback levels on a student-by-student basis.

- Two new functions, SAT Power Plus and Awesome Adjectives, added to help students prepare for the SAT, ACT, and other college admissions testing. Power Plus encourages students to replace everyday words with specific words usually found on the tests. Awesome Adjectives, part of Power Plus, automatically prompts students with a set of more challenging words for essays.

- An unlimited prompt library. Educators can add and use writing prompts to improve student learning and customize writing instruction to school curriculum.

- Improved navigation for students and educators. Students can access MY Tutor and MY Editor through individual buttons within their writing areas; educators can see graphic displays of student progress on the main MY Access! menu page.

- Additional professional development opportunities to support districts, including one-, two-, or three-day workshops that focus on the connections between reading, writing, and real-time classroom coaching and mentoring.

- A new online account management system that helps schools and districts improve the management of student licenses, as well as place and rack orders on the Web. Technology coordinators and administrators can directly import student rosters at the beginning of the school year, add new students during the year, and change the status of students no longer in the district.

Vantage Learning, 800/230-2213 or

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Voyager Launches Passport Reading Journeys: Beginnings

The new reading intervention program, Passport Reading Journeys: Beginnings, expands the Passport Reading Journeys series for use with secondary students reading three to four years below grade level.

The program identifies struggling students, intervenes with targeted instruction, and monitors student progress. The curriculum incorporates the same literature focused on science and social studies topics used in the company's Passport Reading Journeys program, as well as video segments and Web-based software included to engage students in reading.

The instruction is provided in a flexible 45 to 60 minute routine of whole group and small group instruction, including independent and partnered reading, that can be adapted to accommodate class size and technology resources.

The Beginnings program offers a series of 15 reading expeditions that cover topics such as 911 Medical Emergencies, People in Sports, and Unusual Animals. Each two-week expedition includes DVD-based video segments hosted by teens and Web-based strategic online learning opportunities designed to build vocabulary and comprehension skills and improve reading fluency with Lexile-leveled passages.

A Beginnings Library allows students to select text from award-winning fiction and non-fiction Lexile-leveled magazines and books.

Student progress is monitored with four benchmark assessments: Reading Benchmark Assessment powered by the Lexile Framework for Reading, Reading Connected Text Benchmark Assessments, Comprehension and Vocabulary Assessments, and SOLO Progress Reports. The program's VPORT performance management system provides a variety of reports and access to real-time data.

Voyager Expanded Learning, 888/399-1995 or

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EBSCO’s NoveList Offers First Chapters

The NoveList readers' advisory service now includes first chapters for more than 14,000 fiction titles.

The opening chapters are provided for a range of books spanning most genres, with an emphasis on recent and popular titles. The selections cover most major publishers, including Hatchett, Random House, Harper Collins and library-friendly publishers such as Algonquin Books and several university presses.

In the near future, first chapters will be provided for thousands of non-fiction titles listed in Book Index with Reviews, available on EBSCOhost.

EBSCO Publishing, 800/653-2726 or

Back to Contents... Web Site Revised

Hotmath, Inc. has announced that its Web site now explains homework problems from more than 150 middle school, high school, and college math textbooks. The site now covers 90 percent of the math textbooks used in today's middle school, high school, and college classrooms, according to the announcement.

Students use Hotmath—available at any time (24/7)—to obtain immediate help when they are having difficulties with their homework. Hotmath shows step-by-step explanations for the odd numbered homework problems from the actual textbooks. In addition, algebra review lessons are linked from every tutorial for immediate remediation

These explanations to the odd-numbered homework problems have been proven to help students obtain a better understanding of the material and of how to solve the remaining problems, the announcement states. Students can then be challenged and assessed by their teachers using the even-numbered problems in the textbooks.

For this autumn, Hotmath is offering free access to 6th and 7th grade textbook solutions and college algebra textbook solutions from such publishers as Glencoe/McGraw Hill, Prentice Hall, and McDougal Littell. This offer is available through January 2007.

The revised site also includes an improved interface along with graphing calculator support for pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry texts.

Hotmath is available for home or school use. Individuals may purchase a yearly subscription for $49. Individuals who want short-term help may purchase a 2-month subscription for $29. School and district pricing is also available.

Source: Hotmath, Inc.,

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