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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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March 20, 2007

Table of Contents

MMIS Xtra News: Internet@Schools West Call for Speakers is Out!
Creative Commons Launches New Education Initiative
PBS TeacherLine Introduces New Professional Development Course on Online Teaching
Muzzy Lane Introduces New Version of “Making History” Computer Game
Cool Links: Getting Boys to Read
TIGed Take Your Classroom Global Contest! Announced
Points of View Reference Center Now Available from EBSCO Publishing
ETS Offers Webinars on Criterion Online Writing Evaluation Tool
Canvastic Version 3.0 Ships

MMIS Xtra News: Internet@Schools West Call for Speakers is Out!

Call for Speakers

Internet@Schools West
October 29-30, 2007
Monterey, CA

Deadline: April 23, 2007

We're seeking presenters for our Internet at Schools West 2007 conference, to be held in Monterey, California, October 29-30, 2007. Sponsored by MultiMedia & Internet@Schools magazine, the conference covers practical and timely technology-related topics and technology-based tools and resources for K-12 media and technology specialists. It is held in conjunction with the Internet Librarian 2007 conference.

If you are running an innovative program through your school media or technology center that's helping your students learn or your teachers teach, or if you are willing to share your practical tips, tools, or techniques about using technology and the Internet in schools, we want you! Please consider volunteering to speak at Internet@Schools West.

All speakers receive a full, complimentary registration to the Internet@Schools West and Internet Librarian 2007 conferences, plus great recognition from their peers. So think over your latest success stories or technology ventures and go to http://www.infotoday.com/Internet@Schools/CallForSpeakers.shtml.

Thanks! We look forward to hearing from you soon. The deadline for proposals is April 23, so think quickly and send in your ideas!

Conference Co-Chairs:

David Hoffman
Editor, MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Magazine

Susan Geiger

Librarian, Moreau Catholic High School
Castro Valley, California

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Creative Commons Launches New Education Initiative

Creative Commons, a non-profit organization with the mission of bringing "balance, compromise, and moderation" to the nation's copyright system, has announced that it is launching a new division called CC Learn, which will extend the work Creative Commons has been doing to support open educational material and repositories—kindergarten through lifelong learning. This initiative is made possible by the support of the Hewlett Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. (For more information on Creative Commons and its mission, read this story from Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks archives: Creative Commons Nurtures the Public Domain.)

CC Learn will be more focused on teaching materials, while the Creative Commons work on open access to the scholarly literature will remain part of the Scholar's Copyright project in the Science Commons division.

CC Learn's immediate goal is to work with those who already provide open educational resources to remove or mitigate barriers to combining or remixing content from different open collections. In other words, its goal is to make material more "interoperable," to speed up the virtuous cycle of use, experimentation and reuse, to spread the word about the value of open educational content, and to change the culture of repositories to one focused on "helping build a usable network of content worldwide" rather than "helping build the stuff on our site," the announcement states.

Source: Creative Commons, www.creativecommons.org

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PBS TeacherLine Introduces New Professional Development Course on Online Teaching

PBS TeacherLine has introduced "Online Facilitator Training I - Mastering the Skills of Online Teaching" to help prepare educators for teaching in the 21st century as K-12 and higher education institutions rapidly expand e-learning opportunities for students. Already, more than 25 percent of K-12 schools offer some form of e-learning, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In higher education, reports by Eduventures show that 1.5 million college students are enrolled in an online course today.

The 45-hour course will be offered for the first time this spring, scheduled to run March 28 through May 8, 2007.

Co-developed with the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE), PBS TeacherLine's Online Facilitator Training course use a multimedia-based environment to immerse teachers in the same e-learning model that their students will experience. The course is intended for K-12 classroom teachers, university faculty, and pre-service teachers who are preparing to facilitate online courses. Designed to help teachers become effective instructional leaders in a Web-based learning environment, the course teaches educators:

* the philosophy and pedagogy of e-learning
* techniques for deepening online discussion
* techniques for online, text-based communication
* strategies to foster online community building and collaborative learning
* strategies for delivering effective, web-based formative assessment
* strategies for evaluating Internet resources

Online facilitators take on many different managerial, technical, social, and pedagogical roles, the announcement states. Effective facilitators must know how to provide formative feedback, offer technical guidance, foster community, and communicate "from the side" in a way that encourages learners to construct knowledge together. PBS TeacherLine's Online Facilitator Training course introduces educators to these roles and provides them with the opportunity to practice them, including participation in a simulation environment to hone specific facilitator skills. Through research-based articles and readings, discussions, collaborative projects, and other interactive experiences, educators have numerous opportunities to build and master online facilitation skills. Teachers can learn more about the course or enroll at www.pbs.org/teacherline. The course costs $525. 

Source: PBS TeacherLine, www.pbs.org/teacherline

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Muzzy Lane Introduces New Version of “Making History” Computer Game

Muzzy Lane Software has released a new version of MAKING HISTORY: The Calm & The Storm.

The MAKING HISTORY 2.0 computer simulation game is a contest of economics, warfare, and diplomacy, offering teachers in high schools and colleges a tool for motivating students to think critically, discuss complex topics, and improve their understanding of global conflict.

The new version includes detailed scenarios of Pearl Harbor, D-Day and the Battle of Britain. A new in-game tutorial makes it easy for students to get right into the flow of the game, and the beefed up Artificial Intelligence now contains behavioral models of more than 80 nations playing out across 800 land and sea regions around the world.

  Using World War II as the playing field, MAKING HISTORY puts students in charge of real nations confronting real-world problems. Skills challenged and honed during game play: International relations, industrial and workforce strategy, political acumen, military planning and action, national defense versus domestic programs, and more.

Unlike other WWII games, players are not forced to choose sides with the Axis or the Allies. Alliances are shaped and shattered based on unique national interests. And each country is precisely modeled with its real-world economic and military strengths, political ideology, diplomatic tendencies, and its level of technical advancement. Within each country the major regions feature accurate terrain, infrastructure, natural resources and industrial capabilities.

MAKING HISTORY 2.0 for Education is now available at www.making-history.com/edu. From five-student game packs to full computer lab licenses, there is a configuration that fits any size or type of teaching environment. There is also a full set of updated support materials, designed with the input of teachers who have used the game in their classrooms.

Source: Muzzy Lane Software, www.muzzylane.com

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Cool Links: Getting Boys to Read

There's a new news show called Here and Now from PRI, or Public Radio International, airing these days on National Public Radio. Today on the way to work, we heard this Here and Now story about getting boys to read. It features host Robin Young interviewing former librarian, author, and reading advocate Mike Sullivan about the phenomenon of reluctant boy readers and what we can all do about it. Good story, cool link!

Hear "Getting Boys to Read" via Real Audio Player HERE.

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TIGed Take Your Classroom Global Contest! Announced

TakingITGlobal is holding its first Take Your Classroom Global! contest from March 2 to April 30 to recognize the best demonstrations of creative, collaborative, and technology-rich global learning from students and educators around the world.
TakingITGlobal
notes in announcing the contest that education in the 21st century is at a crossroads as preparation for global citizenship requires a more diverse set of skills and literacies than ever before. New educational practices such as project-based learning and new Web 2.0 technologies are creating opportunities for global education and cross-cultural dialogue, creating a better understanding of worldwide problems and building 21st century skills. With support from Microsoft's Partners in Learning program, TakingITGlobal's contest aims to capture the best of these practices and share them with the world, celebrating innovative educators and students, and inspiring their colleagues and peers to get involved in creating relevant and engaging learning opportunities.
To participate in the contest, students and educators can submit in the media of their choice to the TakingITGlobal.org online community, and then complete an online submission form available at http://www.tiged.org/contest. Contest organizers anticipate entries ranging from blogs, podcasts, project pages, and lesson plans, to TIGed maps, articles in Panorama online magazine, images in the Global Gallery, or even TakingITGlobal profiles. "Our hope for this contest is to celebrate and showcase classroom based initiatives that are opening student eyes to the world in exciting and creative ways!" said Jennifer Corriero, Executive Director of TakingITGlobal.
All entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges within the TakingITGlobal community; prizes and recognition will be awarded for innovation, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, global awareness, and demonstration of media and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) literacies.

"We're thrilled to be partnering with TakingITGlobal in this new contest," said Leslie Conery, deputy CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), TakingITGlobal's partner on the contest.  "These are real-world examples of technology transforming education. Supporting this work is a natural fit for us and our members, who come from dozens of countries around the globe."
Recognized submissions will have the chance to be featured in a TakingITGlobal online showcase and print publication, as well as to win prizes including digital cameras, Webcams, and voice recorders for podcasting. Prize winners will be announced at ISTE's National Educational Computing Conference in Atlanta in June 2007.

For additional information on the Take Your Classroom Global! contest, visit http://www.tiged.org/contest.
Source: TakingITGlobal, http://www.takingitglobal.org/

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Points of View Reference Center Now Available from EBSCO Publishing

EBSCO Publishing has announced the availability of Points of View Reference Center, offering students require a source of balanced information pertaining to a growing array of current social and political issues.

Designed to assist researchers in understanding the full scope of a wide range of controversial subjects, Points of View Reference Center features a series of full-text essays representing opposing viewpoints on a variety of important issues. Students can use this resource as a guide to debate, developing arguments, writing position papers, and for development of critical thinking skills, the announcement states.

Points of View Reference Center provides full-text content pertaining to hundreds of topics, each with an overview (objective background/description), point (affirmative argument) and counterpoint (opposing argument). Topics covered include affirmative action, cloning, DNA profiling, HIV/AIDS status disclosure, immigration, Iraq, Israel & the Palestinians, Katrina and FEMA response, nuclear proliferation, separation of church and state, standardized testing, stem cell research, tax cuts, voting machines, and many more.

Points of View Reference Center contains a balance of materials from all viewpoints, according to the announcement, including 600 main essays, leading political magazines from both sides of the aisle, newspapers, radio & TV news transcripts, primary source documents and reference books. The database also offers guides pertaining to debate, developing arguments, and writing position papers. Points of View Reference Center provides the basis from which students can realize and develop persuasive arguments and essays, better understand controversial issues, and develop analytical thinking skills.

For more information on Points of View Reference Center, visit www.ebscohost.com/pov.

Source: EBSCO Publishing, www.epnet.com

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ETS Offers Webinars on Criterion Online Writing Evaluation Tool

ETS is offering free webinars this Spring to introduce educators and administrators to the Criterion Online Writing Evaluation, its instructional writing tool that guides students through each stage of the essay-writing process: planning, writing, and revising.  Through the Criterion service, students can work independently to plan, 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, revise and resubmit their work. Teachers plan each assignment and 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.

During the webinars, ETS will also introduce a new Preplanning tool that 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 notes or ideas into the template of their choice. When they feel satisfied with the plan, they can save it and/or automatically populate the plan content into the essay screen, where they can then reorganize or rewrite their notes and flesh out the rest of the essay.

To view the schedule and register for upcoming Webinars in March, April and May, visit www.ets.org/k12webinars.html.

Source: ETS, www.ets.org

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Canvastic Version 3.0 Ships

Canvastic LLC has announced the update of their product, Canvastic, an integrated writing, graphics and publishing tool for students in grades K-8, to version 3.0. Developed by a former classroom teacher and computer coordinator, Canvastic was specifically designed with classroom use in mind and provides a mix of fun and productivity. The program allows students to publish pages, books, presentations, and more.
 
Version 3.0 continues and expands on the concept that software tools students use to publish should be flexible. Teachers can customize their students' work environments even further than before. Dozens of new features, refinements, and fixes are included in this release.

*    Canvastic is now a Universal Binary application for use on PPC and Intel Macintosh computers.

*    Canvastic now supports transparency and color tones in its graphics and text.

*    Spell checking has become the best in the student publishing genre. Teachers can enable it or not. The "Learn" button can be enabled or not. Custom words and lists can be added then locked preventing students from corrupting the user dictionary. 

*    New brush shapes provide more artistic control but still keep the choices to a manageable level, which is a Canvastic signature philosophy.

*    Digital photographs can be included easily using the new Open Folder command. Photos come in, scale themselves to a useful size, and are ready to be captioned and used.

*    Templates, backgrounds, and art that support curriculum standards have been amended.

 
These additions have all been designed to work with the "Grows With the User" feature that presents a customized interface for students at any level. This enhances the publishing experience and the time on task for students.

This is a free upgrade for all paid registered users. Registered users who did not pay for their copy of Canvastic may upgrade for 50% of the posted educational prices. Canvastic runs natively on Windows and Macintosh computers.  It is purchased and downloaded from the web site http://www.canvastic.com/support/download/. Pricing starts at $59 for a single user license. An unlimited school building license is $949, and there are also various lab pack prices.

Source: Canvastic LLC, www.canvastic.com

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