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October 10, 2006

Table of Contents

Free Resources: World Book’s ‘Causes and Effects of Global Warming’
Free Resources: NationMaster
Knowledge Matters Introduces Educational Simulation on Ancient Egypt
Tom Snyder Productions Releases MaxData
Adobe Announces Digital School Collection
NOAA, NSTA Offer Online Coral Reef Ecosystems Teaching Tool
CoSN Launches Value of Investment in Technology Program
Free Resources: National Science Foundation Online Lessons and Web Resources
Pearson Introduces Bridge of Vocabulary
Scholastic and the National Association of Secondary School Principals Collaborate on Foundations of Adolescent Literacy Program
TeachingBooks.net Observes Banned Books Week
Turner Learning’s CNN Student News Makes Daily Broadcast Available as Video Podcast

Free Resources: World Book’s ‘Causes and Effects of Global Warming’

World Book has introduced a new feature to help students and their parents better understand the issues around global warming, from the science to the politics. The online feature, Causes and Effects of Global Warming, is available through the World Book Online Reference Center for schools and libraries (http://www.worldbookonline.com) and consumers (http://www.worldbook.com).

The World Book Global Warming feature offers students a comprehensible overview of global warming, addressing its causes, expected impacts, and what has been done about it so far, according to the announcement.

The feature takes an in-depth look at how the production, transportation, and use of fossil fuels, as well as associated environmental pollution, each contribute to global warming. It also examines the damaging effects continued global warming could have, from the greenhouse effect to weather pattern changes, which may cause further flooding, droughts, and more damaging storms. The impact of global warming on the ocean as well as on plants and animals also is explored. The feature also discusses how climatologists and other scientists are studying ways to limit global warming, including reducing carbon dioxide emissions and increasing fuel efficiency. The Kyoto Protocol also is discussed in detail, from its terms and history to its controversy in the scientific community.

Additionally, the feature includes dozens of links to key terms covered in further detail in the World Book online encyclopedia, from acid rain to the World Health Organization, reinforcing concepts addressed in the feature by providing detail through related information, charts, and graphs.

The Global Warming feature also provides students with a variety of editor-reviewed links allowing them to explore further, including links to government agencies and organizations in the U.S., Canada, and abroad.

The Causes and Effects of Global Warming feature is one of dozens World Book Content Spotlight features, available at no charge at http://www.worldbook.com. (This feature also is available directly at http://www.worldbook.com/wb/Students?content_spotlight/global_warming.) Content Spotlight features are designed to bring alive topics for students, prompting them to explore areas that they may not have known they had an interest in. The information is presented in an age-appropriate, balanced format using text as well as media to heighten the experience, the announcement states.

Source: World Book, Inc., http://www.worldbook.com

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Free Resources: NationMaster

Once again, the Internet Scout Project has tipped us off to a great educational resource. From a recent Internet Scout Report:

With endorsements from such respectable institutions as the New York Times and the BBC, NationMaster presents a formidable amount of data for the general public in a way that is both accessible and at times, downright addictive. ...

And from the NationMaster Web site direct:

Welcome to NationMaster, a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations. NationMaster is a vast compilation of data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, UN, and OECD. Using the form above, you can generate maps and graphs on all kinds of statistics with ease.

We want to be the web's one-stop resource for country statistics on everything from soldiers to wall plug voltages.

You can also view profiles of individual countries including their maps and flags, use correlation reports and scatterplots to find relationships between variables, and refer to fully integrated encyclopedia with over one million articles.

Click HERE to get to NationMaster.

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Knowledge Matters Introduces Educational Simulation on Ancient Egypt

Knowledge Matters, Inc., has released a simulation on ancient Egypt for middle school students, the first in its new line of computer-based educational simulations for social studies. The product is based on techniques honed during nearly a decade of success on three virtual business products used by half a million students in 3,500 middle and high schools, according to the announcement. VBM (Virtual Business - Management) provides a balance of real-world accuracy and simulation playability. (See Knowledge Matters Announces Upgrade in Virtual Business Curriculum.)

The Virtual History - Ancient Egypt multi-level, 5 - 7 day module is intended as a capstone to a traditionally taught section on ancient Egypt. Designers used depictions from 4000-year-old cave paintings to build realistic experiences of daily life along the Nile. Students assume the role of village leaders who assign work tasks, monitor signs from nature, construct housing, and provide food and protection for their ever-expanding population. The students' decisions determine whether their village succeeds or its inhabitants die of starvation. Features include:

- three levels of advancing difficulty culminating in the construction of a pyramid
- a timeframe of 5 - 7 hours of computer lab use
- broad spectrum of standards-based material: culture, geography, history, technology, economics, and government
- interdisciplinary ties to reading, reading comprehension, grammar, and writing
- built-in computer-based assessment, including over 24 fill-in-the-blank quizzes and three fill-in-the-blank tests.
- lesson plans, curriculum guides, sample essay questions with Web connections
- HTML-based, searchable tutorial
- flash-based instructional videos
- in-program messages that help students proceed

Virtual History - Ancient Egypt features cross-curricular connections with reading and reading comprehension, subjects that No Child Left Behind legislation now requires social studies classes to incorporate, according to the announcement. More information is available at http://www.knowledgematters.com/products/?history.

Source: Knowledge Matters, Inc., http://www.knowledgematters.com/

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Tom Snyder Productions Releases MaxData

Tom Snyder Productions has announced the release of MaxData, a new kid-friendly program that gives students an age-appropriate introduction to databases. MaxData teaches students all aspects of data handling, from the first steps of simple representation of data, to learning database concepts such as fields, field types, records, tables, and filters. The program's interface has three grade-appropriate levels, so students can concentrate on the ideas, relationships, and information being explored.

MaxData was developed by the makers of Scholastic Keys, and like that program, is a powerful tool for reinforcing classroom curriculum through technology, the announcement states. The program walks students and teachers through the use of databases and their practical application to the core curriculum.

Other product highlights include the following:
* Ready-made, cross-curricular data sets: dinosaurs, presidents, states, weather, and more
* Database wizard that guides students through naming the database, adding fields and field types, and saving the database
* Three levels of functionality, allowing for differentiated instruction
* View records in table and group views
* Create standard reports - table, column, and graph - or design your own
* MaxPaint - drawing tool to add pictures to records
* Clip art library with over 800 images

MaxData includes a Windows CD-ROM, a User's Guide, and learning activities. The program can be purchased individually or as a bundle with Scholastic Keys.

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

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Adobe Announces Digital School Collection

Adobe Systems, Inc. has announced the Adobe Digital School Collection, aimed at providing digital communication solutions to K-12 schools. The collection brings together four software applications to create an easy-to-use solution for teachers, students, and school administrators, according to the announcement. The applications are Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0, Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0, Adobe Contribute 4, and Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional software. A Teacher Resource CD provides additional resources such as professionally developed lesson plans and tutorials to help educators quickly integrate digital learning into their curricula.

The Adobe Digital School Collection includes tools for students and teachers to create rich digital images and video content, Web sites, blogs, and collaborative documents for a variety of school and classroom projects.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 and Premiere Elements 3.0 - Students can enhance photos and videos featuring special effects and professional-quality sound projects from book reports to video documentaries in a range of subjects including science, math, and literature. Students can show off their creativity in slide shows, Web photo galleries created using Flash technology, and in many other ways. Premiere Elements enables the creation and sharing of videos. Students can assemble videos by rearranging clips via a drag-and-drop feature, and productions can be burned to DVD in two steps, complete with a menu and scene index.

Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional - Acrobat helps teachers create and distribute curriculum, media-rich lesson plans, and homework assignments electronically. The commenting tools in Adobe Reader give students a quick way to review and collaborate on projects, while the streamlined grading and record-keeping process saves teachers time. Textbook pages, photos, video, and audio files can be combined into a single PDF for ePortfolios or classroom presentations.

Adobe Contribute 4 - Educators will be able to update and maintain Web sites and blogs with course content, student work, and class projects using Contribute. Content can be published from a single application or directly from within Microsoft Office so teachers can share information with parents, students, and colleagues. Templates in Adobe Dreamweaver will help preserve the look and feel of existing sites and add dynamic multimedia content to sites.

Teacher Resource CD - The CD includes lesson plans around core subjects such as science, civics, and history. It also includes tutorials and technical guides, sample images, and a video library.

The Adobe Digital School Collection is expected to be available in November 2006 and can be purchased through the Adobe Open Options licensing program. Pricing starts at an estimated street price of $149. Additional information about the Adobe Digital School Collection is available at http://www.adobe.com/education.

Source: Adobe Systems Inc., http://www.adobe.com

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NOAA, NSTA Offer Online Coral Reef Ecosystems Teaching Tool

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) unveiled a new Web-based science toolbox, the Coral Ecosystem SciGuide for grades 9-12.

The SciGuide pulls together top Internet resources on coral science and organizes them into three major themes for the classroom: coral reef biology, coral ecosystems, and coral conservation. All of the Web-based resources are aligned with national science education standards for a range of grade levels.

The science toolbox highlights NOAA resources such as online tutorials and complete hands-on inquiry-based lesson plans from the National Ocean Services. Audio clips of teachers describing their uses of the Web-based materials are included. Also offered are classroom activities, computer simulations and teaching aids, including samples of student work and lessons learned from pilot teachers.

The SciGuide is currently available at an introductory price of $4.95 for NSTA members and $5.95 for non-members. (The regular price is $7.95 for members and $9.95 for non-members.) The price provides access to the guide and all of its resources for one year. Multiple teacher and district pricing options are available. Complete information is available online at http://sciguides.nsta.org/.

This material is part of a larger suite of coral reef resources created by NOAA and NSTA for teachers exploring coral reef ecosystem science in their classrooms. Among the additional teaching and professional development resources are a half-day coral reef science symposium at the NSTA annual conference and a series of online seminars for teachers.

The Coral Ecosystems SciGuide is the first in a series of ocean- and atmospheric-themed SciGuides to be developed by the NSTA in collaboration with NOAA. Future topics include Estuary Ecosystems and The Ocean Effect of Weather on Climate.

NSTA, http://www.nsta.org/.

NOAA, http://www.noaa.gov/.

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, http://coralreef.noaa.gov/.

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CoSN Launches Value of Investment in Technology Program

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) offers a new leadership initiative, Value of Investment (VOI) for ed tech. The effort is designed to help district technology decision makers assess the costs and evaluate the benefits of proposed technology investments before making purchase decisions.

The initiative includes a Web site (http://www.edtechvoi.org/) that provides a set of assessment tools developed to help ed tech leaders articulate the benefits of education technology projects.

The Web site outlines a five-step approach for determining the Value of Investment: estimate project costs, assess risk, calculate anticipated savings and revenues, measure qualitative benefits, and evaluate results.

The site offers a Project Cost Estimator tool designed to help calculate cost and identify potential savings from proposed products. A Projects Benefits Worksheet helps demonstrate how these investments can help achieve educational goals. The tools are designed for use with the free CoSN/Gartner K-12 TCO (total cost of ownership) tool.

Sponsors of the initiative include Intel Corporation, with additional support provided by Gateway and SchoolNet.

Consortium for School Networking, 866/267-8747 or http://www.cosn.org/.

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Free Resources: National Science Foundation Online Lessons and Web Resources

The National Science Foundation (NSF) offers an online collection of lessons and Web resources, most of which come from the National Science Digital Library (NSDL).

The resource materials are arranged by subject area: Arctic & Antarctic, Astronomy & Space, Biology, Chemistry & Materials, Computing, Earth & Environment, Education, Engineering, Mathematics, Nanoscience, People & Society, and Physics. Each subject area includes an overview of NSF research, in both interactive and text-only versions. The materials can be found online at http://www.nsf.gov/news/classroom/.

The National Science Digital Library is the NSF's online library of resources for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The NSDL materials are created by collaborating partner institutions, including universities, museums, professional organizations, government agencies, research laboratories, and publishers.

National Science Foundation, 703/292-5111 or http://www.nsf.gov/.

National Science Digital Library, http://www.nsdl.org/.

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Pearson Introduces Bridge of Vocabulary

The Bridge of Vocabulary, a book and CD set available November 13, offers an explicit vocabulary intervention program developed for general and special educators.

The program presents a systematic intensive approach to help foster vocabulary and language growth. Developed for multiple users, including speech-language pathologists (SLPs), classroom teachers, reading teachers, and other education professionals, The Bridge of Vocabulary targets five age levels, from preschool through adult.

Early learners use pictures to help them grasp early vocabulary concepts, elementary students use both oral and written activities, and older learners use reasoning skills to master abstract vocabulary concepts.

The program book provides more than 100 activities field-tested by classroom teachers and speech language pathologists. The accompanying CD-ROM offers additional guided practice activities, independent practice, word cards, and picture cards.

Pre-publication pricing through November 1 is $39.99 for the book and CD (a 20 percent discount). After November 1, the price returns to $49.99.

Pearson Assessments, 800/627-7271 or http://www.pearsonassessments.com/.

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Scholastic and the National Association of Secondary School Principals Collaborate on Foundations of Adolescent Literacy Program

Scholastic Education and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) have announced they are collaborating to bring research-based online professional development in literacy leadership to middle and high school principals through the Foundations of Adolescent Literacy program.

Scholastic Red Professional Development has developed the Foundations of Adolescent Literacy Program, a suite of online professional development courses to help middle school and high school teachers, literacy coaches, and principals meet the literacy needs of striving readers. The suite includes the following:

* a course for all middle and high school teachers, Strategies for All Secondary Teachers
* a course for secondary literacy coaches, Supporting Secondary Teachers in Literacy Instruction
* a new course for principals and school leaders, Leading a Literacy-Focused School.

 The faculty on Leading a Literacy Focused School includes Dr. Mel Riddile, 2006 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year, and Dr. Melvina Phillips, NASSP consultant for Literacy and Professional Development and author of Creating a Culture of Literacy, a landmark publication from NASSP on middle and high school literacy reform.

Foundations of Adolescent Literacy, along with all Scholastic Red courses, is aligned to national and state professional development standards and correlated to all major reading programs. Teachers, coaches, and principals complete online lessons and then come together in facilitated study groups to reflect on their learning, share student work, and practice strategies modeled in the courses by master practitioners. Scholastic Red courses are accredited by Red's university partners for graduate credit. More than 20,000 teachers in over 300 school districts have participated in Scholastic Red Professional Development.

For more information, visit http://www.scholasticred.com or http://www.nassp.org/

Source: Scholastic, http://www.scholastic.com; National Association of Secondary School Principals, http://www.nassp.org/

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TeachingBooks.net Observes Banned Books Week

TeachingBooks.net, a company that provides online book and author resources to schools, is bringing awareness and information on banned books to educators and its staff through a number of different opportunities.

Every year the American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week during the last week of September, to remind Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. Observed since 1982, this event celebrates the freedom to choose or to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.

Banned Books Week-related features and services at TeachingBooks.net include the following:

* A commemorative "QuickSearch" of Banned Books resources is available for anyone to use to gain insight into the books most challenged during the past year. Search Results list author programs, book guides, book readings, authors' personal Web sites, links, and more. View TeachingBooks.net's Banned Books Week resources from the QuickSearch drop-down menu or go to http://www.teachingbooks.net/bannedbooks

* TeachingBooks.net is freely inviting everyone to meet the American Library Association's most challenged author of 2005 in the original TeachingBooks.net author program with Robie Harris. In the movie, Harris discusses the importance of accurate information in her books on puberty, sexuality, and reproduction, including It's So Amazing and It's Perfectly Normal. The author program can be viewed at http://teachingbooks.net/robieharris.

* TeachingBooks.net is using this opportunity to formalize and publicize its Collection Development Policy. As an Internet company that works within the constraints of software filters in schools, the company has created a policy reinforces the importance of educating students to think critically by stating, in part, "Software Internet filters contradict TeachingBooks.net's perspective that life-long learning and information literacy is best served by educating students to think critically so that they can be their own filters."

* TeachingBooks.net has created a Banned Books Week display that highlights the books of author Robie Harris and illustrator Michael Emberley. They are the creators of the most challenged book of 2005. 

To learn more about TeachingBooks.net, visit http://www.teachingbooks.net/.

Source: TeachingBooks.net, http://www.teachingbooks.net/

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Turner Learning’s CNN Student News Makes Daily Broadcast Available as Video Podcast

Turner Learning, Inc., has announced that CNN Student News this month expanded the availability of its daily 10-minute broadcast on Headline News through a video podcast. The full video podcast can now be found at http://www.cnn.com/podcasting and the network's dedicated space at iTunes.

"With the growing popularity of podcasting, we recognized that we had yet another digital avenue in which to provide this program to educators and their students," said Jerry DeMink, vice president of CNN News Services.

CNN Student News, CNN's cost-and-commercial-free educational program for middle and high schools, is the cornerstone of Turner Learning and uses the resources of the CNN Worldwide to create news and information content specifically for the classroom. CNN Student News airs on Headline News, Monday - Friday throughout the school year at 3:12 a.m. (ET). The show is also streamed for the Web at http://www.cnn.com/education. CNN Student News, along with CNN Presents: Classroom Edition, is CNN's contribution to Cable in the Classroom.

Source: Turner Learning, Inc., http://www.turnerlearning.com/

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