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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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January 09, 2007

Table of Contents

MMIS Xtra News: Internet@Schools East 2007 Conference Preliminary Program Now Available
BKFK and Mattel Announce 3rd “Invent-A-Toy” World Games
Free Resources: National Geographic Online Features the Amazon, the Arctic, and More in January
Free Resources: CoffeeCup’s Web Design Software for Schools
TeachingBooks.net Announces Two New Author Programs
ETS Releases Criterion v7.1 Enabling Students to Plan Their Essays Online
Tom Snyder Productions Releases Scholastic Keys in the Classroom
Free Resources: Thomson Gale Celebrates Poetry Month with Free Web Site
Free Resources: HP Offers K-12 Technology Grant Initiative
IT Cross Links: ProQuest Information and Learning Goes to CSA--What Now?
The Library of Congress Launches RSS Feeds
ProQuest Launches One Click Searching
FrontRow Introduces Next Generation of Front Row ToGo Sound System for Classrooms

MMIS Xtra News: Internet@Schools East 2007 Conference Preliminary Program Now Available

Internet @ Schools East 2007 <http://www.infotoday.com/I@SE2007/> is happening next April 16 and 17 in Washington, DC. The program will feature Lee Rainie, Joyce Valenza, and Gary Price as keynote speakers, plus Carol Kuhlthau, Ross Todd, and a host of other speakers. The Preliminary Program is now available online.

Here's what we're saying about it at the conference Website: 

It isn't getting any easier to be a school media or technology specialist in this era of shrinking budgets and … sometimes … shrinking support for media programs. But this is still an era of unprecedented opportunities! Opportunities and methods to boost your students' success, and help your teachers and administrators do likewise with current and cutting-edge technologies and resources. And opportunities to demonstrate and publicize those successes—and the essential nature of your media programs—in the process.

Come learn about those opportunities and methods from leaders in the profession like Joyce Valenza, Carol Kuhlthau, Ross Todd, and others, as well as from practitioners just like you! As they share their ideas and successes and you share yours, you'll all be shoring up support for 21st-century library media programs!

Internet@Schools East 2007 is sponsored by MultiMedia & Internet@Schools magazine. Attendees of this two-day conference can also participate in the co-located Computers in Libraries conference at a reduced rate and take maximum advantage of the Computers in Libraries Exhibit Hall.

Click HERE to link to a pdf of the whole I@SE 2006 Preliminary Program.

Source: Us right here at MMIS! http://www.mmischools.com

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BKFK and Mattel Announce 3rd “Invent-A-Toy” World Games

By Kids For Kids Co. (BKFK) and Mattel are partnering for the third annual "Invent-A-Toy" World Games competition. The contest gives youngsters ages 5-19 the opportunity to create their own commercially-viable toys and games for a national audience.

The winners will be awarded a licensing contract from BKFK, legal support to patent the invention in the winner's name (if patentable), professional expertise to bring the product to market, and a $5,000 U.S. savings bond. Each winner will have the opportunity to identify an inspirational or supportive teacher; that teacher will receive a $1,000 U.S. savings bond.

A panel of industry and academic experts in patenting, marketing, licensing, and merchandising will evaluate the submissions according to the following criteria: marketing and market potential - 90 percent, originality and inventiveness - 10 percent.

The winners will be announced in June 2007. Each winning youngster and one guardian will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York to attend the awards ceremony.

Applicants must submit entries to bkfk.com/ no later than April 6, 2007. No entry fee is required.

The BKFK Web site also offers teacher materials, including lesson plans, an Inventive Thinking toolkit, science projects, and a monthly teacher newsletter.

By Kids for Kids, http://www.bkfk.com/.

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Free Resources: National Geographic Online Features the Amazon, the Arctic, and More in January

The National Geographic Web site, Ngm.com/, explores a variety of subjects--and many corners of the world--in the month of January.

The site's "Last of the Amazon" feature considers a key dilemma facing the country of Brazil: to continue to allow the widespread and profitable destruction of the rain forest or to intensify conservation efforts. The online material includes an interactive map, a photo gallery, a forum, and a poll.

"Arctic Trek" follows two veteran adventurers as they head toward the North Pole in the dark of winter, while a third traveler battles for his life off the coast of Siberia. A photo gallery vividly recreates the polar expeditions onscreen.

In "Lost Boys," John Dau talks about the journey he shared with other Sudanese "lost boys," from African refugee camps to new homes in the United States.

Additional features examine humpback whales, hummingbirds, and Slovenian treasures.

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

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Free Resources: CoffeeCup’s Web Design Software for Schools

CoffeeCup Software, Inc., a Web authoring Internet software company, has announced the availability of their Educational Software Package, a free suite of five Windows applications that helps educators teach their students how to make Websites.

Qualified teachers can receive copies of five Web design and maintenance applications, without charge, including:

- CoffeeCup VisualSite Designer, a WYSIWYG Website creator and editor that enables novices to make Web pages. Using a library of dozens of professionally-designed templates and an intuitive interface, CoffeeCup VisualSite Designer lets teachers guide students in their introduction to the Internet and to Website creation.
- CoffeeCup Web Calendar, a wizard-driven program that adds a Flash calendar to your Website. You can keep track of school events, meetings, and holidays. Educators can master the program quickly and use it as a tool to acquaint students with creating a stylish, interactive Website, according to the announcement.
- CoffeeCup News Flash, a utility for adding headlines and news items to a Website. Grab news from Yahoo, CNN, and CNET. Learn to use Flash and RSS to announce news, and link to other Web pages.
- CoffeeCup Form Builder, a Flash-based form builder that uses drag and drop to create Web forms, enabling you to add input boxes, lists, check boxes, and radio buttons to your Website.
- CoffeeCup Photo Gallery, a program that lets you add image galleries to Websites.

"We've made it as easy as possible for elementary and secondary public schools and libraries in the U.S. and around the world to receive these five software applications," said Scott Swedorski, VP of Marketing and Distribution at CoffeeCup Software. "Simply fill out a one-page online form on http://www.coffeecup.com/k12/, and we'll ship your CDs to your school, with no strings attached."

Source: CoffeeCup Software, Inc., http://www.coffeecup.com/

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TeachingBooks.net Announces Two New Author Programs

TeachingBooks.net has announced the addition of two new original author programs to its collection of multimedia book and author resources. These original TeachingBooks.net resources bring award-winning authors and illustrators directly into libraries and classrooms, allowing students to learn first hand how ideas, art, and text come together to create a book.

The first new author program features an interview with British writer and illustrator Lauren Child, the creator of the Clarice Bean books, the Charlie and Lola series, "The Princess and the Pea," and "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Book," among others. The Lauren Child author program includes a five-minute movie, during which Child reveals her interest in reinventing fairy tales, plus an additional movie of Child reading from "Clarice Bean Spells Trouble." Users can see and hear Child discuss her books and demonstrate her collage illustrations at http://teachingbooks.net/LChild.

The second new author program features an interview with Angela Johnson, a three-time Coretta Scott King Author Award winner for "Toning the Sweep" (1994), "Heaven" (1999), and "The First Part Last" (2004). The Angela Johnson author program includes six interactive slide shows, including Johnson reading from "The First Part Last." Listen to Johnson discuss her African-American protagonists and universal stories at http://teachingbooks.net/AJohnson.

TeachingBooks.net original author programs include in-depth written interviews about the authors' backgrounds, books and writing processes, plus links to relevant Websites and book guides. For more information, or to sign up for a free 14-day trial, visit http://www.teachingbooks.net.

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

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ETS Releases Criterion v7.1 Enabling Students to Plan Their Essays Online

ETS has announced the release of Criterion v7.1 Online Writing Evaluation program, which includes a "Make a Plan" tool enabling students who submit essays to their teachers through Criterion to plan their essays online. The "Make a Plan" tool is a new feature of Criterion v7.1.

The Criterion service is an online writing practice tool. Students work independently to write and submit essays on an assigned topic. The Criterion service uses automated scoring technologies to score the essay and provide diagnostic feedback on multiple basic elements of writing—grammar, usage, mechanics, style, and organization & development. Students can review the comments, visit a Writer's Handbook for more information, and revise their work. Teachers can view their students' essays and the Criterion feedback, add their own comments using pop-up notes, and generate reports about their class' writing progress.

The "Make a Plan" tool gives students a choice of eight plan types, including an outline, an idea web, and templates for specific types of essays, such as compare/contrast and cause and effect. Students can type sentences, notes, or ideas into the template of their choice, and can save and print their work. When they feel satisfied with the plan, they can continue on to the essay screen, which is automatically populated with content from the plan. The students can then reorganize or rewrite their notes and flesh out the rest of the essay.

Other enhancements to Criterion v7.1 include the ability to generate a targeted list of student names for essays with advisories and a word count display that students can refer to while typing.

The Criterion service is part of ETS's System 5 suite of K-12 products and services. For more information about the Criterion service, including an online tour, visit http://www.ets.org/criterion.

Source: ETS, http://www.ets.org

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Tom Snyder Productions Releases Scholastic Keys in the Classroom

Scholastic company Tom Snyder Productions has announced the release of Scholastic Keys in the Classroom, a teacher resource book that provides over 50 curriculum-aligned lessons to accompany the activity files included in the software programs Scholastic Keys and MaxData.

Scholastic Keys offers elementary students a kid-friendly interface and educational enhancements for Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to provide students with an early introduction to using Microsoft Office. MaxData gives students an age-appropriate introduction to databases so students can learn all aspects of data handling from the first steps of simple data representation to learning database concepts such as fields, field types, records, tables, and filters. The book's lessons extend students' experience with each software program and cover topics in language arts, math, social studies, science, and technology for grades K-6.

A sampling of the topics covered in the lessons includes:
*
Language Arts:

Alphabetical order
Synonyms & antonyms
* Math:
Graphing
Average, median, & mode
* Social Studies:
Community
Colonial history
* Science:
Plant life
Life cycles
* Technology:
Databases
* Multimedia presentations

Scholastic Keys in the Classroom is a spiral bound book (200 pages) complete with lesson plans, worksheets, and handouts. There are 50 Scholastic Keys lessons and 8 MaxData lessons. For further information about Scholastic Keys, MaxData or Scholastic Keys in the Classroom, visit http://www.tomsnyder.com.

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

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Free Resources: Thomson Gale Celebrates Poetry Month with Free Web Site

Thomson Gale is supporting National Poetry Month (April) with Poet's Corner, a free Web site located online at http://www.gale.com/free_resources/poets/.

The site offers biographies of well-received poets, a quiz based on these poets and their works, a timeline of events tracing the poetry movement, poems and the concepts behind them, activities, and a downloadable calendar for the month of April that highlights poetry resources and facts.

The activities are easily adaptable for classroom use and are designed to help students examine poetry as it relates to a variety of subject areas, such as beauty and identity.

Links to additional poetry resources are available at http://www.gale.com/free_resources/poets/links/. These include The Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Society of America, and the American Verse Project (an initiative assembling an electronic archive of volumes of American poetry published prior to 1920). The link to children's writer Kristine George's wide-ranging poetry-focused Web site is aptly titled "Celebrate Children's Poetry... All Year Long!"

Thomson Gale, http://www.gale.com/.

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Free Resources: HP Offers K-12 Technology Grant Initiative

A new HP initiative will award grants totaling $3.9 million in cash and HP equipment to K-12 public schools in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The 2007 K-12 HP Technology for Teaching Grant program supports efforts to improve student achievement through innovative uses of technology in the classroom. Proposals will be accepted in all subject areas, but preference will be given to projects with a focus on math or science.

The application process begins online on January 8, 2007. The deadline for proposal submissions is February 18, 2007. Additional information and requests for proposal forms can be found online at http://www.hp.com/go/hpteach/

The grants bring HP's total investment in education in the United States and Puerto Rico in 2007 to $10 million. The company's worldwide commitment to schools through the HP Technology for Teaching Grant initiative totals more than $36 million since the 2004 launch of the program.

HP, http://www.hp.com/

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IT Cross Links: ProQuest Information and Learning Goes to CSA--What Now?

From an Information Today, Inc. NewsBreaks story by Barbara Quint, published December 27:

ProQuest Information and Learning (PQIL; http://il.proquest.com), the bulk of ProQuest Co. (http://www.proquestcompany.com), and one of the nation's oldest and largest database aggregators has been sold to Cambridge Information Group (CIG; http://www.cambridgeinformationgroup.com). The acquisition will result in the creation of a new, privately held company (yet to be named) that merges the operations of PQIL and Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA: http://www.csa.com). Both the Ann Arbor, Mich., operation of PQIL and the Bethesda, Md., operation of CSA will continue in their current locations. Driven partly by financial pressure from continuing debts connected to past financial irregularities, the acquisition should provide the publicly held ProQuest Co. (NYSE:PQE) with approximately $222 million. Martin Kahn, the longtime executive for a number of traditional database services, will serve as CEO of the new company and will move to Ann Arbor. Matt Dunie will expand his current presidency of CSA to presidency of the new company.

Read more--including sections entitled Whither the New Company?, What's Left of ProQuest Co.?, and To Whom It May Concern--by cross-linking to Barbara's story, ProQuest Information and Learning Goes to CSA--What Now?, at Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks.

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The Library of Congress Launches RSS Feeds

The Library of Congress has announced the launch of a series of news feeds using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology. The RSS service was launched in response to public requests for alerts on additions to the Library's digital collections, updates of events at the Library's public venues in Washington and news of the institution.

Since its launch in 1994, the Library's Web site has been the destination of Web users seeking authoritative information and unparalleled collections, with more than 22 million digital objects available in 186 terabytes of content, including photographs, maps, music, film, books and reference information on topics ranging from American history to science and technology to popular culture.

By subscribing to RSS feeds, users can easily stay up-to-date with areas of interest on the Library's Web site. The Library of Congress offers several RSS feeds for use in an RSS reader or RSS-enabled Web browser. Library feeds consist of a headline, a brief summary and a link that leads back to the Library's Web site for more information.

The Library's RSS service has launched with the following feeds:

* News, a bulletin service of the latest news from the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing resources to Congress and the American people
* Upcoming Events, a listing of the dozens of free concerts, lectures, exhibitions, symposia, films and other special programs offered at the Library on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
* New on the Web, updates on new collections, features, reference materials and other services available on the Library's award-winning Web site
* New Webcasts, the latest Webcasts and podcasts of lectures and events sponsored by the Library
* News from the John W. Kluge Center, featuring updates on lectures, presentations and other news from this center for scholars within the Library of Congress, established to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate and energize scholarly discussion, distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources and interact with policy-makers in Washington.
* What's New in Science Reference, new products and services on the subject of science and technology from the Library's Science, Technology & Business Division.

These feeds join four existing RSS feeds from the U.S. Copyright Office in the Library of Congress on current copyright-related legislation; announcements, rules, proposed rules and other notices published in the Federal Register; NewsNet (alerts on hearings, deadlines for comments, new and proposed regulations and new publications); and updates to the Copyright Web site at http://www.copyright.gov.

The Library will launch additional feeds in specific content and subject matter areas in the coming months. All new RSS feeds will be available from key content pages within the Library's extensive Web site, as well as from a central RSS Web page at http://www.loc.gov/rss.

Source: Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/

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ProQuest Launches One Click Searching

ProQuest Information and Learning is launching a major change to its signature search platform. Starting now, libraries with a database on the ProQuest platform can use it for access to full text of the electronic content in its collection, whether it's from ProQuest or another content provider. The innovation, called One Click searching, eliminates one of the most common frustrations of serious researchers by building a direct path between search results and full text.

While the technology behind One Click is sophisticated, its appearance to searchers is simple. Users enter search terms in any database on the ProQuest platform and the results screen will include links to full text from the library's e-collection. To connect to the full text, users simply click once on the full-text button.

Until One Click, linking from research databases across multiple publishers involved unpredictability and dead-end links in pursuing article full text, frustrating users and reducing library credibility, the announcement states. One Click technology considers each library's holdings, delivering links that are accurate, consistent, and automatic.

One Click is available now to libraries with a database on the ProQuest platform. Some libraries may need to activate the service. For information on the activation process, contact ProQuest at 1-800-521-0600.

Source: ProQuest Information and Learning, http://www.il.proquest.com

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FrontRow Introduces Next Generation of Front Row ToGo Sound System for Classrooms

FrontRow has announced the introduction of the next generation of its ToGo sound system for classrooms. New advances include OptiVoice — a method of boosting student listening ability — and a design that's free of materials harmful to the environment. Over 2,000 US school districts already using the current FrontRow ToGo model to help student attention, comprehension, behavior, and test scores.

FrontRow ToGo is an all-in-one sound system that clarifies and evenly distributes the teacher's voice throughout the classroom — allowing students to more easily understand teachers regardless of where they're seated, the announcement states. A teacher using ToGo wears a wireless microphone, and his or her voice is broadcast through the ToGo speaker column. Key research studies have shown significant improvement in student attention, behavior, and test scores in classrooms using the technology. In addition, teachers experience significantly fewer episodes of laryngitis because FrontRow ToGo lets them teach while using a normal voice level, according to the announcement.

FrontRow ToGo delivers these benefits to students and teachers with a single multi-speaker unit, requiring little set-up and excellent portability. In addition, FrontRow ToGo is the most environmentally-friendly product of its kind, manufactured using a lead-free process, the announcement states.

FrontRow ToGo's price is US$899. A typical system includes a wireless microphone for the teacher, a receiver/speaker unit, and a charger. A pass-around microphone for student participation and a carrying bag are also available.

Source: FrontRow, http://www.gofrontrow.com

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