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February 06, 2007

Table of Contents

Facts On File Announces the Launch of Bloom’s Literary Reference Online
ITI Cross Links: ebrary Introduces New Online Ordering Platform Adds Video Instruction
Apply Now for LOC Summer Teacher Institutes
Free Resources: HP, Scholastic Offer Environmental Responsibility Curriculum
Interwrite Learning Announces Interwrite Virtual PRS Software
Thinkronize Forms Partnerships to Enhance netTrekker d.i. User Experience
The Princeton Review Launches Assessment Center
Apex Learning Announces High School Digital Curriculum
Tom Snyder Productions Releases New Version of Science Court
Discovery Educator Network Launches Three Blogs
Discovery Education Unveils Discovery Education ThinkLink Assessment
AOL@SCHOOL and Intellext Team to Launch Study Tool for Students and Teachers
EBSCO Publishing Redesigns Searchasaurus Interface

Facts On File Announces the Launch of Bloom’s Literary Reference Online

Facts On File has announced the redesign of its Literary Reference Online database. The thoroughly revised and expanded database is now called Bloom's Literary Reference Online, reflecting the inclusion of literary criticism and the Western Canon from the academic Harold Bloom.

The many improvements to Bloom's Literary Reference Online include:

* An Inviting New Interface-The appealing new interface provides users with faster, more direct access to the database's wealth of content.
* New Content-More than 14,000 new critical essays, entries on topics and themes, synopses and overviews, analyses, character entries, and biographies-including new literary criticism from Harold Bloom-have been added.
* Enhanced Browse and Search Features-Users can now conduct full-text keyword searches across the database. Within each entry, highlighted search terms, in-text linking, and links to suggested searches and related works facilitate further research. The revised browse features make it easy to browse entries within the Authors, Works, Topics and Themes, and Timeline sections. The Canon of Literature can also be used to browse the database.
* New Tabbed Search Results-Search results have been reorganized within tabs, by record type, such as "All Results," "Biographies," "Overviews and Synopses," "Analyses and Criticism," and a brand-new "Topics and Themes" section.
* Comprehensive New Timeline-The browsable and searchable timeline of world literature, with more than 15,000 entries, offers information about births, deaths, publications, and major literary events from the ancient era to the modern day.
* Harold Bloom's Western Canon-Explore Professor Harold Bloom's selection of authors and works that represent the greatest achievements of the Western literary tradition.
* Featured Content-The Authors and Works browse pages now include a monthly feature and lists of highlighted entries selected by the editors.

For ordering, pricing, or other information, contact the online sales department at

Source: Facts On File,

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ITI Cross Links: ebrary Introduces New Online Ordering Platform

ebrary has announced the availability of eBOP, its new online ordering platform that lets librarians preview ebooks and other content, purchase and subscribe to individual titles, or create a custom collection on the fly. Learn more HERE from the announcement picked up in Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks Weekly News Digest for January 26, 2007.

Back to Contents... Adds Video Instruction now offers nearly 1,000 video lessons that teach and explain homework topics related to Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry, College Algebra, and Calculus. The lessons, from 5-15 minutes in length, provide step-by-step examples of a variety of mathematical situations.

The video materials feature Dr. Edward Burger, Professor of Mathematics at Williams College and Chair of the schools' Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Dr. Burger models a light-hearted and enthusiastic approach to math as he explains his methods of working through math problems and offers anecdotes to remember math rules.

A yearly subscription to the Hotmath Video Access Key is available for $29.


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Apply Now for LOC Summer Teacher Institutes

The Library of Congress is now accepting applications for its 2007 Summer Teacher Institutes. The Institutes provide educators from grades 4-12 across the nation with the opportunity to engage in intensive study and exploration of a specific topic using the staff expertise and facilities of the Library of Congress.

Participants in our summer institutes will:

* Discover Library of Congress primary source materials
* Develop strategies for using primary source digital content in teaching
* Engage in inquiry learning in hands-on workshops
* Learn from Library of Congress subject matter experts
* Network with other teachers from across the country and share ideas and experiences
* Leave with a plan for creating a lesson or activity to be used with their students.

The four sessions are:

July 11-13 Incorporating Primary Sources into the Teaching Process

This institute will help teachers take advantage of the instructional power of primary sources—that is, the documents and objects left behind by the participants in past events. Though many teachers are familiar with the importance of primary sources, they are unsure about how to use them in the classroom or how to help students use them in projects. In this workshop, Library of Congress specialists will introduce participants to the unique characteristics of primary sources, while helping explore some of the millions of digitized primary sources available on the Library's Web site. Participants will look at ways to introduce students to primary sources, as well as to help them understand how to use-and cite-primary sources in projects of their own.

July 17-20 Advanced Session: Using Library Resources to Create Lessons

Teachers who have attended the Library's previous summer institutes, or who have served as American Memory Fellows, now have the opportunity to build on their skills with this advanced institute. Participants will work closely with Library staff to improve their skills in searching the Library's Web site, to learn more about using collections at the Library, and to develop primary source-based teaching materials for use in their own classrooms. In addition to attending training sessions with Library staff, participants will undertake intensive individual research in the Library's collections to discover primary source documents that support their teaching goals. By the conclusion of the institute, each participant will have created the initial stages of a lesson plan or other primary source-based learning experience that they can take with them and integrate into their teaching. For previous institute participants or American Memory Fellows only.

July 25-27 Primary Sources and Literature: A Backdrop for Learning

As school systems begin to focus on improving student reading scores on standardized tests, more and more teachers are looking at ways to combine reading with social studies or other classroom subjects. In this institute, participants will learn ways to bring books together with the rich and varied primary source materials that can be found in the Library's collections. By presenting great works of literature in the light of unique historical documents and artifacts, teachers can not only provide their students with a more vivid and engaging reading experience, but can also build the historical understanding and critical-thinking skills students need. Bring several favorite historical children's or young adult fiction books to use for assignments.

August 8-10 Incorporating Primary Sources into the Teaching Process See July 11-13 session

The Institutes are open to all grade 4-12 educators, including teachers, librarians and media specialists, and technology coordinators in public, public charter, private or religiously affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. Content is geared to professionals working with students from upper elementary to high school.

Participants may only attend one session and must have experience using the Internet for research. The number of participants for each session is limited to 20. There is no charge for the institute or materials. Participants will be responsible for transportation to and lodging in Washington, D.C.

The deadline to apply for the Summer Institutes is March 15, 2007

Please visit the LOC Web site to register for this event:

Send any questions about the Institutes to

Source: Library of Congress,

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Free Resources: HP, Scholastic Offer Environmental Responsibility Curriculum

HP and Scholastic offer a new curriculum titled "Get in the Technology Loop," designed to teach students in grades 4-6 about environmental responsibility. The materials combine real-world issues related to electronics and the environment with lessons in science, math, and language arts.

Students are introduced to the concept of the product lifecycle, environmental issues related to technology, and the roles students and their families can play in environmental responsibility.

Sample lessons and information on the national guidelines and criteria met by the "Get in the Technology Loop" program can be found online at


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Interwrite Learning Announces Interwrite Virtual PRS Software

Interwrite Learning has announced the latest addition to its student response system family: Interwrite Virtual PRS software. Interwrite Virtual PRS is designed for use with networked computers or Windows-based PDAs in a classroom with or without the Interwrite PRS RF clickers. The Virtual PRS application functions as a "virtual" clicker to allow those devices to operate in the same way as the other wireless PRS RF clickers. Virtual PRS operates on any computer in wired or wireless environments on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, as well as Windows-based PDAs with integrated WiFi. Teachers and professors have a student response system that offers instant classroom assessment via a variety of platforms.

Interwrite PRS allows users to create their quizzes and lessons within the PRS software, using Microsoft PowerPoint slides or by importing questions developed by leading textbook publishers. Interwrite PRS software also offers a set of grading, reporting, and data management features, such as the ability to export student results to leading learning management systems like Blackboard Learning Systems, WebCT and WebAssign. Customers can receive free training for InterWrite PRS via online video tutorials or live online training sessions conducted via WebEx.

Source: Interwrite Learning,

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Thinkronize Forms Partnerships to Enhance netTrekker d.i. User Experience

Thinkronize has partnered with several education companies to add new multimedia resources to its netTrekker d.i. and to provide new ways for users to access the service.

PBS TeacherSource
Thinkronize and PBS TeacherSource, a national public television Web destination for preK-12 educational resources, have collaborated to add 3,000 new multimedia resources to netTrekker d.i. Educators can find classroom materials suitable for a wide range of subjects and grade levels, including thousands of lesson plans, teaching activities, on-demand video assets, and interactive games and simulations, in one location. The new resources that will be added to netTrekker d.i. are tied to on-air and online programming from PBS including NOVA, Nature, Cyberchase, Between the Lions, and many other popular titles. The new content from PBS will be correlated to state and national educational standards, and will be available to netTrekker d.i. subscribers in Spring 2007, free of charge.

Fourier Systems
Thinkronize has also partnered with Fourier Systems, a provider of science and 1:1 computing solutions for the education market, to offer access to netTrekker d.i. on the Nova5000. The Nova5000 is a Windows CE 5.0 tablet-computing device that meets students' everyday computing needs, including Internet access, word processing, spreadsheets. and email.

Through a partnership with Blackboard, Inc., K-12 teachers, students, and parents can search and access more than 180,000 educator-selected, standards-aligned resources from netTrekker d.i., directly within their Blackboard learning management platform. This integration is possible through a new beta version of the netTrekker Blackboard Building Block. Blackboard Building Blocks are third party applications, which enable schools and districts to extend and customize their Blackboard platform. The netTrekker Blackboard Building Block beta is also being offered as part of the Blackboard K-12 Starter Edition—a hosted product offering that features a variety of resources for K-12 districts in the early stages of establishing an e-learning strategy. This offer is available to customers who have licensed both netTrekker d.i. and Blackboard technology.

For more information about any of the above partnerships, visit

Source: Thinkronize,

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The Princeton Review Launches Assessment Center

The Princeton Review, a provider of formative assessment programs, test preparation and college admissions services, has announced the launch of its third-generation assessment platform. The Assessment Center incorporates many customer-requested features, and offers easier navigation, enhanced reporting, and quicker results.

The Assessment Center is a component of The Princeton Review's assessment solution. It allows school administrators and teachers to create, assign, and take assessments on or offline; review student standards-based results, group students according to these results and assign additional resources and assessments to track skill mastery. It provides assessments for students in grades 2-11 in reading, math, and science.

Princeton Review's Assessment Center is also fully integrated with the company's proprietary intervention programs, SideStreets and Lightning Math. Using the Assessment Center, students can take benchmark tests in the intervention programs and track their academic progress. SideStreets is an intervention program in reading, math, and science for students in grades 2-8 with academic difficulties. Aligned to state and national standards, SideStreets is designed to meet the needs of after-school, summer school, and during the day intervention programs. Lightning Math is an algebra readiness program for students in grades seven and higher who are struggling with the subject.

Using its Assessment Center tools, The Princeton Review works with school districts to design customized tests in reading, math, and science that meet their individual challenges. The tests can be print or Web-based, and offer snapshots of individual students, or group data by class, school, or districts. A typical test would include 25 to 30 questions that represent the type of material the state is likely to include on its own high-stakes assessments.

Teachers are able to assign activities, capture student performance, create diagnostic reports, demonstrate accountability and meet No Child Left Behind requirements.

Educators receive psychometric consultation to ensure that they understand how to use the data generated by the formative assessments. This mentoring is an important feature of Princeton Review assessments.

Formative assessments are low-stakes tests administered at intervals throughout the year. Aligned to state standards, Princeton Review's formative assessments have a predictive validity that shows how students will perform on state tests.

For more information about The Assessment Center, visit

Source: The Princeton Review,

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Apex Learning Announces High School Digital Curriculum

Apex Learning, publisher of digital curriculum for secondary education, has announced the expansion of its course catalog for the 2007-8 school year. With digital curriculum across math, science, English, social studies, and world languages, the new catalog includes courses needed to meet the graduation requirements of most states.

Building on its experience developing online courses for Advanced Placement, Apex Learning has recently applied its expertise to creating digital curriculum for the core academic subjects. The company's newest courses include Physical Science, Chemistry, Writing and Grammar Essentials, Reading Essentials, American Literature, British and World Literature, U.S. Government and Politics, U.S. and Global Economics, Geography and World Cultures, Music Appreciation, and Physical Education.

Apex Learning courses provide a complete scope and sequence aligned to state and national standards, with comprehensive instructional content and formative and summative assessments integrated throughout. Apex Learning's 2007-8 new course catalog includes more than 120 semesters of digital curriculum.

Source: Apex Learning,

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Tom Snyder Productions Releases New Version of Science Court

Tom Snyder Productions has announced it is releasing a new version of its research-based software series, Science Court. The program helps elementary students build lasting understanding of science topics through guided discussion and fun, hands-on learning.

Science Court draws on research to help students overcome common misconceptions in science by replacing them with lasting, correct understanding. The software incorporates research-based instruction, hands-on learning, and multimedia to systematically tackle scientific fallacies (e.g., that seasons are caused by the distance of the Earth from the Sun). The program literally puts these ideas on trial in a whole-class setting, creating a structured opportunity for students to use scientific evidence to debunk mistaken beliefs. Through the use of written worksheets, classroom discussion, and hands-on activities, students construct solid scientific understanding of hard-to-teach concepts.

Science Court continues to support teachers—especially those without a strong background in science—with new features such as a multimedia Word Wall to support vocabulary instruction and one-click printing of worksheets. The program provides a title-specific Teacher's Guide with easy-to-follow instructions and assessment materials with answer keys.

Other new features of Science Court include text-captions for hearing impaired and ELL students, and support for today's computers, projectors, and interactive whiteboards.

To complement their curriculum, educators can mix and match 12 engaging Science Court titles: Data & Inquiry, Electric Current, Fossils, Gravity, Inertia, Living Things, Particles in Motion, Seasons, Soil, Sound, Water Cycle, and Work & Simple Machines. In addition to focusing on a specific curriculum topic, each title includes Macintosh/Windows software, and a comprehensive Teacher's Guide.

Source: Tom Snyder Productions,

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Discovery Educator Network Launches Three Blogs

Discovery Education's Discovery Educator Network has announced the launch of three new educational technology Weblogs. The blogs, Media Matters, Digital Passports, and Digital Storytelling, are designed to share insights from leading educational technology experts on how to incorporate the latest digital assets in the classroom to help meet the challenges of teaching 21st century learners.

Media Matters ( focuses on all things related to Digital Media and education and is hosted by Hall Davidson, who joined the Discovery Educator Network team in 2006 after serving as the Director of Education Television Services at a California PBS affiliate for 15 years. Hall has served as a technology advisor for software manufacturers, commercial and PBS broadcasters, organizations including the California School Library Association and Technology for Results in Elementary Education and taken part in numerous technology education task forces and committees.

Digital Passports ( features explorations into new and interesting online technologies that are used by today's technology-savvy generation, including Web 2.0 Websites. The blog is managed by Steve Dembo, who has worked as a kindergarten teacher and Director of Technology at the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago before joining Discovery Education in 2006. As the Online Community Manager for the Discovery Educator Network, he oversees the DEN virtual community, including a network of over 20 educational blogs. Steve's personal blog,, is renowned in the EdTech community and his Teach42 podcast was one of the first educational podcasts, serving as the inspiration for many other educators to create their own shows.

Digital Storytelling is managed by Joe Brennan (, an expert in digital storytelling who has over 30 years of classroom experience, the last 12 serving as the AV/Media Coordinator at Niles West High School in Illinois before retiring last June. Every week, Joe reviews resources and blogs and provides insight into the world of digital storytelling.

The Discovery Educator Network ( is a global community of educators who are passionate about the power of digital media. The DEN Website provides a forum for educators to exchange ideas, resources, and best practices on integrating multimedia content in their classroom curricula. The network also provides professional development opportunities for users of Discovery Education products and services, including meetings and events, interactive online workshops, teaching tips, best practice videos and project demonstrations.

Source: Discovery Education,

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Discovery Education Unveils Discovery Education ThinkLink Assessment

Discovery Education has announced the extension of its services into the assessment market with the launch of Discovery Education ThinkLink Assessment. This suite of assessment products stems from the ThinkLink Learning formative assessment services that help educators improve student learning and predict how students will score on high-stakes achievement exams.

The tests within the ThinkLink Assessment suite of products are created specifically to match student proficiency requirements as defined by each state's unique No Child Left behind plan. In 2004-2005, 92 percent of ThinkLink schools maintain or improved adequate yearly progress status (AYP). In 2007, Discovery Education ThinkLink Assessment is expanding its services to 21 states and Washington, D.C. The states include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Discovery Education acquired ThinkLink Learning in April 2006, expanding the business unit's high-quality products and services to include formative assessment. Founded in 2000 at Vanderbilt University, ThinkLink pioneered a unique approach to formative assessment that uses a scientifically research-based continuous improvement model that maps diagnostic assessments to state high-stakes tests. Benchmark Assessment, from ThinkLink, assesses student progress toward meeting state standards for reading/language arts, math, and science. The assessment products powered by ThinkLink are proven to predict performance with up to 80-90 percent accuracy.

Source: Discovery Education,

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AOL@SCHOOL and Intellext Team to Launch Study Tool for Students and Teachers

AOL@SCHOOL ( and Intellext (, creator of contextual search software, have announced the availability of the AOL@SCHOOL Desktop Sidebar. Created using Intellext's next-generation Watson contextual search technology in conjunction with AOL@SCHOOL's search engine, the Sidebar has the capabilities of interpreting the topic the student is working on and automatically finding safe, age-appropriate, and relevant search results from AOL@SCHOOL's collection of the best K-12 education content on the Web, the announcement states. The AOL@SCHOOL Desktop Sidebar can be installed on school or home computers at no cost.

With the launch of the AOL@SCHOOL Desktop Sidebar, students and teachers are able to search the more than 48,000 sites that have been reviewed and selected by a team of experts, and receive a manageable list of high-quality educational resources. By using Intellext's Watson contextual search technology, the high-value content from AOL@SCHOOL resonates pro-actively without the use of regular search engines, according to the announcement.

Intellext's Watson, the product research technology conducted by co-founders Dr. Jay Budzik and Dr. Kristian Hammond at Northwestern University, removes the burden of search from the shoulders of computer users. By reading and understanding what people are working on and using that knowledge to proactively find and deliver useful information to the user, Watson is able to find information the user didn't know existed.

AOL@SCHOOL provides age-appropriate educational content, at no cost, from industry leaders including, NASA,,,, Will Interactive, World and I School, AMDG Online High School Courses, InfoSource, Immersion Presents,, and Headsprout, among many others.

Source: AOL,

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EBSCO Publishing Redesigns Searchasaurus Interface

EBSCO Publishing has announced the release of the redesigned Searchasaurus interface. Since its inception nearly 10 years ago, Searchasaurus has been offering an age-appropriate research environment for use in elementary schools and children's rooms in public libraries. The newly revised interface builds upon the attributes of the original version while incorporating new ideas including those offered by EBSCO's customers, advisory boards, and software council.

This new interface provides young researchers with simple options to begin their exploration whether through topical navigation or keyword searching. An enhanced spell-checker helps students to become more proficient with their vocabulary. In addition, the start page now provides easy access to a large library of pictures, a Visual Search feature, as well as a "Top Searches" section for users to quickly find information on popular research topics.

Searchasaurus supports children's databases from EBSCO including Primary Search, Middle Search Plus, and the Encyclopedia of Animals. Content comprising these databases includes children's magazines, encyclopedias, books, images, photos, maps, flags, and more. Search results offer a combination of text and graphics for students to gain the most benefit from each record retrieved through Searchasaurus.

For more information on EBSCO's databases for young researchers, visit

Source: EBSCO Publishing,

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