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March 06, 2007

Table of Contents

Free Resources: The Library of Congress’ Women’s History Month Site
Digication Announces Release of New Version of Integrated E-Portfolio Tool with Online Learning Community
Cool Links: About "Out Front with Stephen Abram"
Math FACTMASTER In Online Edition
Wilson Library Bulletin Now Online in Full Text
AutoSkill Releases SpanishTutor Module for Academy of MATH
PBS Launches Comprehensive Pre-K-12 Educator Web Site
Soliloquy Learning Launches Secondary Reading Content for Pre-Teens Through Adults
Harcourt Education Acquires Achieve Data Solutions, Forms Harcourt Connected Learning Unit
Free Resources: New Library of Congress Online Collection--Oral Histories of U.S. Diplomats
Digication Admin Tool Enhances the Management of e-Portfolio, Collaboration and Online Learning Communities
MMIS Xtra News: Free March/April 2007 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online
MMIS Xtra News: March 2007 iPod Shuffle Winner Announced

Free Resources: The Library of Congress’ Women’s History Month Site

The Library of Congress has gathered a dynamite collection of multimedia resources online for use by educators in teaching during Women's History Month. You'll find it all at http://www.loc.gov/topics/womenshistory/index.html. The header from the site states: "The Library of Congress recognized the wisdom and tenacity of women throughout U.S. history, highlighting the 2007 theme, ‘Generations of Women Moving History Forward.'" And further into the site, in the welcome note from Librarian of Congress James Billington, "In celebration of Women's History Month, the Library has developed this new Web site highlighting the many resources on women's history and culture available from our extensive online collections."

A sampling from the entry page includes these gems:

* Women's Voices: video and/or audio recording of
Margaret MacArthur—Ballads and Songs from Vermont
"Women Who Dare" series author Janice E. Ruth
Amy Uyematsu speaking at the 2006 National Book Festival
* Articles "Featured Women," including suffragist Susan B. Anthony and former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor

… and lots more.

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Digication Announces Release of New Version of Integrated E-Portfolio Tool with Online Learning Community

Digication Inc. has announced it will release next week a major new version of  its e-Portfolio solution that is now integrated with its online classroom, creating a single, more robust solution, according to the announcement. Digication provides teachers and students with the tools to build a collaborative learning community, with creation, publication, discussion, and archival of educational content. Digication is free for 1,000 users at any U.S. accredited school, connecting students with their peers and the school community via an intuitive Web-based interface.

Digication's online classroom tool offers a centralized meeting place for educators and students to access and discuss class materials, calendar important dates and events, and archive the entire class experience for future reference and accreditation purposes. Teachers and students can export content from the classroom tools into their own e-Portfolios, giving them the opportunity to publish important highlights from the classroom experience, displaying their creations online in a professional way.  

Digication builds online learning communities by providing the basic communication tools needed to encourage collaboration and exploration throughout the teaching and learning experience. Through a forum-like environment teachers and students can discuss learning materials, provide and receive feedback, and contribute to the collective goals of the class.

e-Portfolio Tools Features & Benefits

  • Educationally based social network - Digication e-Portfolios created by teachers, students, and alumni create connected school communities.
  • Safe and Secure - Within Digication, educators and administrators are given the opportunity to approve published material, and the school can select who has access to student e-Portfolios.
  • Collaborative e-Portfolio editing - Groups can work together to create and publish an e-Portfolio for a class project, a departmental exhibition, grant supported endeavors, an extra curricular activity or upcoming event.
  • Tagging, commenting and RSS - Digication incorporates collaborative Web 2.0 features that help build an active learning community via tagging,  private and public comments, and regular updates for RSS subscribers. 
  • Ample Storage - Digication offers 3 gigs of storage for free for up to 1,000 people at any school. Additional storage can be purchased for $50 year/gig.

Online Classroom Tools Features & Benefits

  • Courses & communities - Digication offers collaborative, community based learning tools empowering teachers and students with the tools necessary to organize course materials, community activities, events, and tasks.
  • Threaded discussions -Digication's online discussion format facilitates group based learning and knowledge sharing. Teachers and students can easily view and track the entire educational experience.
  • Grading made simple -Intuitive grading tools allow teachers to view assignments and grades all in one place, and easily print and export their grade book anytime.
  • Calendar and tasks - Course, community and personal calendars keep teachers and students organized. Digication provides tools for quick and easy tools adding and editing events.
  • Export content to e-Portfolio tool - Teachers and students can select outstanding work or important learning milestones rooted in class communication, and seamlessly export the content to the e-Portfolio tool for publication.

Source: Digication, Inc., www.digication.com

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Cool Links: About "Out Front with Stephen Abram"

If you like Stephen Abram's forward-thinking Pipeline columns in MultiMedia & Internet at Schools, and/or his sessions at our Internet Librarian, Computers in Libraries, and Internet at Schools conferences, you should check out this Cool Link. Stephen is nothing if not prolific, and ALA Editions has now published a collection of his writing and thinking under the title "Out Front with Stephen Abram, A Guide for Information Leaders." Read all about it on this page at the ALA Store.

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Math FACTMASTER In Online Edition

Math FACTMASTER for grades one through six is now available in an online edition.

The program supports the NCTM standard of "quick recall of basic facts" by helping students develop math fact fluency. The material covers facts through the 12s in the areas of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Math FACTMASTER also helps students hone higher order thinking skills through story problems.

A one-year subscription for 1-9 classrooms (25 students) is price at $69 per classroom.

The CD-ROM-based Math FACTMASTER program will continue to be available.

Curriculum Associates, 800/225-0248 or www.cainc.com.

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Wilson Library Bulletin Now Online in Full Text

Wilson Library Bulletin, the trade magazine for librarians published from 1914 to 1995, is now available on two H.W. Wilson library and information science databases.

The magazine's full text and full color PDF page images will appear on the Library Literature & Information Science Full Text database and the Library Literature & Information Science Retrospective database. There will be no additional charge to subscribers for this material.

Library Literature & Information Science Full Text provides the full text of 160 periodicals, as well as abstracting and indexing of more than 400 periodicals. The coverage extends back to 1984 and includes Wilson Library Bulletin from 1984 through 1995.

Library Literature & Information Science Retrospective: 1905-1983 provides indexing of more than 1,200 periodicals and a large number of article abstracts. The index includes Wilson Library Bulletin content from 1914 through 1983.

Free trials of both databases are available online.

H.W. Wilson, 800/367-6770 or www.hwwilson.com.

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AutoSkill Releases SpanishTutor Module for Academy of MATH

AutoSkill International now offers an optional SpanishTutor module for its Academy of MATH intervention software. The module was created for native Spanish-speaking English language learners in elementary, middle, and high school.

SpanishTutor provides tutorials, assistance, and motivational elements in Spanish. The Spanish elements are offered in neutral enunciation with generic accents. The scope includes 10 skill areas aligned to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards.

SpanishTutor is also available for AutoSkill's Academy of READING and Academy software suite. The company's software programs can be implemented on local area networks, wide area networks, or as an online service hosted by AutoSkill.

AutoSkill International, Inc., 800/288-6754 or www.autoskill.com/.

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PBS Launches Comprehensive Pre-K-12 Educator Web Site

PBS has unveiled PBS Teachers, its new portal for pre-K-12 educators at www.pbs.org/teachers. In production for more than a year, PBS Teachers is the front door for all educational resources and services PBS offers, and provides information on effective ways to use media and technology in the school- or home-based learning environment. The site offers a one-stop resource for educators searching for wide-ranging curriculum resources, video products (Shop for Teachers), online professional development opportunities (PBS TeacherLine), and more.


Among the most relevant new and enhanced features of PBS Teachers:

* PBS' newest blog, "Media Infusion" (www.pbs.org/teachers/mediainfusion), which will showcase ideas for and encourage conversations about using media and technology in the classroom, to be hosted by practicing classroom teachers and ed tech experts.
* Thousands of free standards-based lesson plans, classroom activities, interactive resources and more - organized by subject, grade level, and curriculum topic.
* Hundreds of curriculum resources from local PBS stations - forming a local-national search, combining the best educational resources from around the country.
* Dedicated areas for early childhood educators, library media specialists, and technology coordinators.
* Showcases for public broadcasting's award-winning video content - including on-demand streaming video from selected PBS programs, customizable local PBS station TV schedules, and Shop for Teachers for purchasing video programs.
DIVP class=MsoNormal>* Professional development opportunities for graduate credit and recertification, from PBS TeacherLine.
* Tools for local PBS stations, enabling them to integrate much of PBS Teachers' content on their local Web sites. (Coming later in March.)
* Advanced personalization features, enabling educators to bookmark, annotate, and share the resources they find. (Coming this summer.)

Source: PBS, www.pbs.org

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Soliloquy Learning Launches Secondary Reading Content for Pre-Teens Through Adults

Soliloquy Learning, Inc. has released new secondary content for the Soliloquy Reading Assistant, a computer-based reading program that combines advanced speech recognition technology with cognitive scientifically-based reading research to provide individualized reading support for elementary, secondary, and adult students.

Soliloquy Reading Assistant's new Science and Social Studies Library includes 150 texts, adapted from materials by Cobblestone Publishing. This library is specifically intended to support content-area reading and learning of students in Grades 5-11. The texts were selected for alignment with state and national science and social studies standards.

The development of this content was initiated under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education through Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, which is conducting a study to evaluate the benefits of the Soliloquy Reading Assistant at seven community colleges and adult literacy centers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

Soliloquy Reading Assistant works by having students read e-books aloud to a computer using a standard headset and microphone. Through Soliloquy Reading Assistant's proprietary speech-recognition technology, the program "listens" to the students as they read, providing help when they struggle. In the background, the students' recordings along with information about their fluency, comprehension, and difficulties are continually updated, enabling teachers to monitor the needs and progress of each student. In the network version, student performance records are sent to a server so that readings can be organized into portfolios and performance statistics can be collated across texts, classes, grades, and schools.

Source: Soliloquy Learning, Inc., www.soliloquylearning.com

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Harcourt Education Acquires Achieve Data Solutions, Forms Harcourt Connected Learning Unit

Harcourt Education has announced that it has acquired Achieve Data Solutions (ADS), a provider of Web-based data analysis and reporting systems for schools.

ADS is best known for DataDirector, a Web-based data management system that enables school administrators and teachers to report and analyze testing and other data to meet AYP reporting requirements and monitor student progress to inform instruction and remediation decisions. ADS also provides a test item bank platform used by school districts and teachers to generate and administer formative assessments.

ADS will be part of Harcourt Connected Learning, a newly-formed division of Harcourt Education. The mission of Harcourt Connected Learning is to provide educators with best-of-breed technology-driven productivity and teaching tools, and to coordinate development and sales of tailored, comprehensive solutions, drawing on assets and resources from across Harcourt divisions. Classroom Connect, a provider of online professional development for teachers and technology applications programs for students, will also be part of the new division.

Source: Harcourt Education, www.harcourt.com

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Free Resources: New Library of Congress Online Collection--Oral Histories of U.S. Diplomats

The Library of Congress has announced that a new online collection of interviews with some of the most prominent diplomats of the 20th century is now available from the its American Memory Website. "Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training" < http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/diplomacy/ > presents a window into the lives of American diplomats. Transcripts of interviews with U.S. diplomatic personnel capture their experiences, motivations, critiques, personal analyses, and private thoughts. These elements are crucial to understanding the full story of the creation of a structure of stable relationships that maintained world peace and protected U.S. interests and values.

This collection captures the post-World War II period in vivid terms and intimate detail, documenting the way U.S. diplomacy defended the U.S. and its interests in a challenging world. The narratives span the major diplomatic crises and issues that faced the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century and, as new interviews are added, will include developments in the 21st century. The 1,301 transcripts of oral history interviews were donated by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, a private, nonprofit organization.

The collection contains stories about American involvement in the city of Berlin, beginning with the 1948 airlift and the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1962, including interviews from those who were present when John Kennedy said, "Ich bin ein Berliner" and when Ronald Reagan said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" There are also recollections from the American ambassador to East Germany (Richard Clark Barkley) at the time when the Berlin Wall was dismantled in 1989.

The collection holds other personal accounts, including those of Robert Dillon, whose embassy in Beirut was attacked by Islamic extremists in 1983, and Prudence Bushnell, whose embassy in Nairobi was blown up by Al Qaeda in 1998.

There are accounts of U.S. dealings with the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek during World War II, and the government's relocation to Taiwan in 1949. When the communist Chinese forces seized control on the mainland, the United States attempted to keep some of its consulates open, but the consulates' staffs were effectively held captive until all were pulled out.

Included are oral histories from individuals who accompanied Henry Kissinger on his historic trip to Beijing in 1971. The collection also holds the tale of the son of American missionaries in China who, as a teenager during World War II, joined Chinese guerrillas to fight the Japanese and many years later returned as U.S. ambassador to Beijing (Arthur W. Hummel Jr.)

Allan Wendt tells what it was like to be the unarmed duty officer in the embassy building when the Viet Cong attacked it in 1968 during the Tet Offensive.

Source: The Library of Congress, www.loc.gov

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Digication Admin Tool Enhances the Management of e-Portfolio, Collaboration and Online Learning Communities

Digication has announced the Digication Admin Tool, an enhanced management and customization solution that unlocks advanced capabilities of Digication. The management tool works seamlessly with Digication's free e-Portfolio and Web-based learning solutions (see Digication Unveils Safe Social Network and E-Portfolio for Students and Educators) to produce a fully manageable learning and collaboration community, where students can discuss ideas and concepts, and post their best work for others to view.

The Digication Admin Tool enables schools to take control over the management of their Digication learning community, from linking user sign-up to existing student databases, to course management and user access privileges within the online community. It allows administrators to customize their school's Digication site, import user data and course lists, review usage metrics and control what users are allowed to do on the school's site. Digication's Admin Tool lets schools decide what e-portfolios, what communications or online classroom content should be published to individual sub-groups of students, teachers, individual classes, clubs and organizations, or to the outside world — all with the by-design Web 2.0 principles Digication was built upon, according to the announcement.

The Digication Admin Tool allows users to customize the software to meet the needs of a department, school, or district wide adoption, and enhances the management of Digication in ways that include:

* Customize your school's Digication site - Upload the school logo and color scheme, and select a unique web address (i.e. yourschool.digication.com).
* Manage user signup - Receive notifications when new users sign up as a student, teacher or alum of an institution. Lists of valid students and teachers can be imported to automate the process and prevent unauthorized users from signing up.
* Use metrics - Measure the success of Digication at a school by reviewing the frequency of posts, user logins and activity, amount of server space and generate content for accreditation and awards.
* Control user functions - Control what users are allowed to do on the school's site. Determine whether users can change their personal settings. Promote a safe and secure environment for teachers and students to learn and share.
* Advance community building - Groups created by the school, such as teachers, students, academic and extracurricular organizations, or a particular class year, can be contacted with group notifications.

Pricing

Digication is free for 1,000 users at any U.S. accredited school. Teachers, students and alumni as part of a school can sign up by visiting http://www.digication.com to create an unlimited number of e-Portfolios, online courses and online communities.

To support the continued innovation of Digication and its growing user base across the U.S., the Digication Admin Tool is available to user groups, individual departments, an entire school, or a district for a cost based on the number of users at a school being managed. For small numbers of users, annual subscription pricing per user starts at $20/year. The average cost per user decreases as the number of users increases, with the subscription fee going down as low as $5/year.

 Source: Digication, http://www.digication.com

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MMIS Xtra News: Free March/April 2007 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online

Content from the March/April issue of MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools is now available at our Web site. There is free full text access to all the March/April 2007 reviews, the In the Spotlight story, and the cover story, Library Resources: A Crital Component to Online Learning.

Check out the full March/April 2007 table of contents HERE, including the additional features and columns, available in synopsized form. If you're a subscriber to the print publication, you'll be receiving your issue soon! If not, well, SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Later this month, once all the issue articles have been processed electronically, you can access any of them in Full Text, Text+Graphics, or Page Image PDF format from the March/April 2007 table of contents. They'll be available on a pay-per-view basis via Information Today, Inc.'s InfoCentral, powered by ProQuest. Check back soon.

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MMIS Xtra News: March 2007 iPod Shuffle Winner Announced

Congratulations to Kevin Perkins, with the Technology Department of the Rockingham County Public Schools in Harrisonburg, VA, and March 2007 winner in MMIS Xtra's monthly drawing for an Apple iPod Shuffle. At the beginning of each month, MMIS Xtra staffers pull a winning name at random out of their e-hat! The winner is chosen from among those who have registered to receive the MMIS Xtra e-newsletter plus free access to product reviews and other content on MultiMedia & Internet@Schools magazine's Web site, MMISchools.com.

MMIS Xtra, e-mailed every other week to registrants, provides timely news of products, services, companies, and issues of interest to school library media and technology specialists and other educators, along with Cool Links and ITI Cross Links to an array of interesting stories, and Free Resources they can use themselves or tell their teacher colleagues about.

Want your MMIS Xtra? ... and a chance to win the next Apple IPod Shuffle!? Sign up HERE.

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