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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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April 03, 2007

Table of Contents

Scholastic, Target to Partner on “Scholastic Summer Reading Buzz” Web Site
Free Resources: National Geographic Online Looks at the Global Fishing Crisis
Evan-Moor Hot Topics High Interest Reading Product Announced
Don Johnston, NASA/Caltech-Jet Propulsion Lab Collaborate on Science Materials
Adobe Creative Suite 3 Now Available for Teachers and Students
NSTA/Vernier Technology Award Winners
New Saxon Math Elementary Program
DyKnow Announces Integration with Blackboard Platform
Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the Internet Safely and Responsibly Released by Wiley
Free Resources: Hotmath.com Free Practice Tests For Exit Exams and Other High-Stakes Math Tests
Tool Factory Announces Tool Factory Podcasting
Heinemann-Raintree Announces “Ask a Librarian” Service for Educators

Scholastic, Target to Partner on “Scholastic Summer Reading Buzz” Web Site

Scholastic has announced it is joining with Target to offer "Scholastic Summer Reading Buzz," a 4-month, multimedia campaign designed not only to motivate kids to read but also to promote the important role parents, educators, and librarians play in helping kids find books that will keep them reading all year long.

Scholastic and Target will launch the interactive online destination http://scholastic.com/summerreading on May 15, for kids, parents, teachers, and librarians.  The site will include interactive book logs, activities, and a reading community where kids can buzz about books and "Show Us Their Reading Buzz" through multimedia submissions. Parents and educators will find extensive book lists in English and Spanish, expert advice, and downloadable materials that will help engage their kids in reading. To keep kids excited about reading, families can also enter a Summer Reading Buzz! sweepstakes to win a family vacation from American Airlines and AA Vacations to Orlando, Florida.

To further raise awareness about the importance of summer reading for kids, Scholastic and Target have jointly created a summer reading in-school program for grades K-8.  Starting in May, more than 250,000 teachers nationwide will receive a Summer Reading Buzz! classroom guide featuring information about summer reading, including age-appropriate books and reading activities for every grade level. The Summer Reading Buzz! Classroom Guide will also be available online at http://scholastic.com/summerreading.

Throughout the summer, kids can also help put books into the hands of children in need by logging the books they read.  For every four books logged on the online and classroom distributed Reading Logs, Scholastic will donate a book to the Reading Is Fundamental, (RIF) children's and family literacy organization.

Source: Scholastic Corp., www.scholastic.com

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Free Resources: National Geographic Online Looks at the Global Fishing Crisis

This month, ngm.com examines the global fishing crisis from a number of perspectives. The site helps students see the devastating affect that overfishing can have on life across the world, and offers a look at plans to improve fishing methods. Among the stories:

Fisheries Crisis - Once numbering in the millions, wild bluefin tuna are disappearing from the Mediterranean, netted by the tens of thousands for the sushi and steak markets in Japan. What can be done to stop the slaughter? Is there time to save this magnificent creature?

Newfoundland Fishing Woes - A village in Newfoundland faces a bleak reality. Once, families could make a living fishing for cod off the coast. Now, those days are long gone, and fishermen are forced to find work elsewhere. Browse through photos of the small fishing village of La Poile.

Coastal Reserves - Fish stocks are at dangerous lows as a result of high-tech harvesting and wasteful management. Explore the fish crisis, and the hope for a new relationship between man and the sea. New Zealand marine reserves are a model for the world.

National Geographic, www.ngm.com.

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Evan-Moor Hot Topics High Interest Reading Product Announced

Evan-Moor has announced Hot Topics High Interest Reading, a supplemental reading product designed for struggling and reluctant readers in grades 4 through 8. While proficient readers use a variety of comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading, struggling readers lack these skills. Hot Topics helps struggling readers to become active readers through direct instruction of strategies and the use of engaging, motivational texts, according to the announcement.

 The 4-page cardstock design encourages students to read about subjects such as firefighting, wakeboarding, and dogsledding in a format that is intended to be less intimidating than textbooks. Students experience a broad variety of nonfiction and fiction genres in texts that are similar to what they will read in the real world.

Hot Topics High Interest Reading provides teachers of reading, ELL, and special education with materials to supplement their grade 4-8 reading program. Each of the two Hot Topics levels presents 20 reading selections in a variety of genres such as articles, interviews, biographies, folk tales, and interviews. The Teacher's Guide includes an 8-page unit for each selection providing lesson plans, reading strategies, instructional prompts, and student reproducibles. Two audio CDs assist students who need support by listening to the reading selection. Hot Topics Set A selections have a grade level readability of 2.5-3.0 with Lexile scores between 400 and 520 and Fountas and Pinnell reading levels from J to O. Set B selections have a grade level readability of 3.0-3.5 with Lexile scores between 500 and 610 and Fountas and Pinnell reading levels from K to P.

 Each level of Hot Topics (Set A or Set B) may be purchased as a Classroom Kit for $229.99; as a Starter Kit for $74.99; or a Variety Pack for $34.99. The products may be previewed online at www.evan-moor.com.

Source: Evan-Moor, www.evan-moor.com

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Don Johnston, NASA/Caltech-Jet Propulsion Lab Collaborate on Science Materials

Don Johnston's Start-to-Finish series now includes Giant Hurricanes and Tornadoes, available in a variety of formats, including paperback book, computer book, and audio book.

Written for students in grades 5-8 by Alan Venable and reviewed by NASA/JPL physical oceanographer Dr. Jorge Vazquez for content accuracy, the book supports a 2nd-3rd grade readability level.

Giant Hurricanes and Tornadoes is the third book developed in cooperation with NASA/JPL to encourage education outreach in the field of science. Previous titles include Robot Explorers on Mars, the story of the Mars Rovers through the eyes of actual researchers and scientists, and The Search for Life on Mars.

Pricing begins at $79 for a single title set that includes all three modalities (paperback book, computer book, and audio book). Discounts are available for quantity purchases.

The Don Johnston/NASA partnership was established to help inspire diverse learners and let them know that they can become scientists, or follow any career path of interest.

Don Johnston, 800/999-4660 or www.donjohnston.com.

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Adobe Creative Suite 3 Now Available for Teachers and Students

Adobe Systems Inc. has announced the release of its new Creative Suite 3 product line, which unites features of Adobe and Macromedia creative tools.

Made up of six new software configurations, the new Creative Suite 3 includes Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Design Standard editions; Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Web Standard editions; and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium. Completing the product line is Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection, which combines 12 of Adobe's new design and development applications in a single box--offering the most comprehensive creative environment ever delivered.

Each new CS3 software application will provide designers and developers with a broad spectrum of creative options with innovative tools encompassing all facets of print, Web, mobile, interactive, film, and video production.

For those interested in purchasing the latest Adobe Creative Suite 3 software releases, online educational software reseller Academic Superstore (www.academicsuperstore.com) offers discounts up to 70 percent off Adobe products for students, teachers and schools.

Source: Academic Superstore, www.academicsuperstore.com

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NSTA/Vernier Technology Award Winners

Seven educators nationwide are the recipients of the Vernier/National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Technology Award honors.

The Elementery category winner is Wendy Smith, 3rd grade teacher at Klem Road South Elementary School in Webster, NY. Her project, "Investigating Seasonal Changes," provides lessons that enable her students to become environmental scientists as they investigate seasonal changes and the ecosystem in a nearby park.

The Middle School category has two winners. Michael Breslow, 7th grade teacher at Belhaven Middle School in Linwood, NJ, was recognized for his "Learning Physics at the Ballpark" lesson that takes students to a nearby baseball stadium to study physics principles associated with pitching. Thomas Eddy, science teacher at Green Lake School District in Green Lake, WI, earned the honors for his "Biotic Indexing and Stream Water Quality" project that introduces students to the semi-annual monitoring of seven streams in the Green Lake watershed.

The High School category includes three winners. Timothy Couillard, a teacher at James River High School in Midlothian, VA, presented "In the Footsteps of Galileo: The James River Pumpkin Drop," an activity that combines a replica of Galileo's Tower of Pisa free fall experiment with a competition to produce a container that can protect a pumpkin dropped from various heights. Michael Liebl, a physics/chemistry/mathematics instructor at Mount Michael Benedictine School in Elkhorn, NE, submitted "A Flashlight Without Batteries! How Does That Work?," a physics lesson designed to develop discussion of energy production, storage, and transfer. Brent Osborn, science teacher at North Central High School in Spokane, WA, offered "Investigating Pinecroft Natural Area Preserve," a collaboration among inner-city school students and college and government researchers.

The College category winner is James Gordon, a professor of chemistry at Central Methodist University in Fayette, MO, who presented "Implementing Data Collection Technology at Central Methodist University."

Each educator will receive $1,000 in cash, $1,000 in Vernier products, and up to $1,000 toward expenses to attend the 2007 NSTA national convention in St. Louis. A formal recognition ceremony will be held during the meeting at the annual NSTA Awards Banquet.

Vernier Software & Technology, 888/837-6437 or www.vernier.com

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New Saxon Math Elementary Program

Saxon Math Publishers, an imprint of Harcourt Education, will introduce a new version of the Saxon Math elementary program this fall.

The update to the comprehensive core math program offers additional hands-on and enrichment activities, problem solving, and performance tasks for all grade levels. The new program includes California and Texas editions. New textbooks provide more support for English Language Learners, differentiated instruction, and open-ended questions for students.

Teacher materials feature planning resources and professional development tutorials, as well as a Benchmark Assessment Generator to help educators set benchmarks and track standards.

Online activities are also available.

Saxon Publishers, 800/284-7019 or www.saxonpublishers.com/

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DyKnow Announces Integration with Blackboard Platform

DyKnow has announced its planned software integration with the Blackboard Learning System. This integration is scheduled for May 2007 with the release of the DyKnow Vision and Monitor software versions 5.0.

DyKnow Vision and DyKnow Monitor software utilizes class rosters. The integration of DyKnow and Blackboard software will facilitate information authentication between the two systems. When launched, DyKnow users will be able to sign on with credentials that are checked against their Blackboard server. The information garnered from the Blackboard system, including user ID, name, and associated course enrollments, will then be used to synchronize both the Blackboard and DyKnow servers.

DyKnow Vision software fosters interaction through collaborative note taking, student response tools, content replay, and anywhere, anytime access. DyKnow Monitor software reduces electronic distraction by displaying thumbnails of student screens, blocking applications, blanking screens, and monitoring in wireless environments.

To preview DyKnow Vision and Monitor 5.0, visit http://www.dyknow.com/products/vision/newin50/.

Source: DyKnow, www.dyknow.com

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Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the Internet Safely and Responsibly Released by Wiley

CYBER-SAFE KIDS, CYBER-SAVVY TEENS: Helping Young People Learn to Use the Internet Safely and Responsibly, by Internet safety expert Nancy Willard, has recently been published and is now available from publisher Wiley, Amazon.com, and elsewhere.

In a recent study, 81 percent of parents felt their children were not careful enough when sharing information about themselves online, and 79 percent of these children agreed. Further, according to author Willard, most teens say parents haven't educated them about concerns related to the Internet.

With CYBER-SAFE KIDS, CYBER-SAVVY TEENS: Helping Young People Learn to Use the Internet Safely and Responsibly (Wiley, April 2007, $14.95), Willard gives parents the tools to help keep children and teens safe from online threats such as sexual predators, pornography, hate groups, and cyberbullies and to encourage responsible online behavior.

Today, the many stories in the media about Internet threats have caused parents to become increasingly aware of risks related to Internet use by children and teens. But parents are also aware of the many positive aspects of the Internet and the importance of these technologies in the lives of their children—now and into the future.

CYBER-SAFE KIDS, CYBER-SAVVY TEENS is a guide for parents of today's totally wired children and teens. Parents know how to help their children avoid risks and engage in responsible behavior in real life. Willard provides the insight into online risks and practical strategies to help parents translate effective parenting skills into the online world—helping parents learn how to provide their children with the necessary information to understand the nature of the Internet and to make the same kinds of safe and responsible choices online that they would in real life.

Nancy E. Willard, MS, JD (Eugene, OR) is an educator, lawyer, educational technology consultant, and parent. She has been involved in Internet planning in K-12 education for over a decade and is also the author of Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats.

Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., www.wiley.com

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Free Resources: Hotmath.com Free Practice Tests For Exit Exams and Other High-Stakes Math Tests

Hotmath, Inc. has announced that its Web site, www.hotmath.com, will now offer free practice tests to help students master high-stakes math exams. The offerings will include practice for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) 11th grade exit exam, and a variety of general math subjects, starting with Algebra 1.

The practice tests for state-specific exit exams will duplicate the lengths of the actual exams so that students can become familiar with the full rigor of the actual tests. The nationally targeted tests will also provide extensive practice. For example, the Algebra 1 practice sessions will consist of 12 tests plus a final exam. Test-takers have the option of having their answers scored and can address knowledge gaps by using a test item's "Solutions" button to obtain hints, step-by-step solution guides, or review lessons.

 Recently, Hotmath launched its CAHSEE practice tests, which will be followed later in the month by the TAKS exit exam practice. Throughout the spring, Hotmath will add the Algebra 1 tests, additional state tests, and also textbook chapter tests for Algebra 2, pre-algebra, geometry, calculus, and other math subjects.

Source: Hotmath, Inc., www.hotmath.com

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Tool Factory Announces Tool Factory Podcasting

Tool Factory has announced Tool Factory Podcasting, software that combines a scripting tool, sound recorder, easy uploading, and built-in broadcasting, all into one interface. Given a a microphone, an Internet connection, and a voice, any user can now create podcasts from a Windows computer using this product, according to the announcement.

 Tool Factory Podcasting comes complete with all of these necessary components:

* Tool Factory Podcasting software - Create, record, and upload your podcasts with "point-and-click" mouse skills.
* Clip Art Station subscription - Download a library of pictures and audio, without the worry of copyright violation. Incorporate music and sound effects into your podcasts.
* Web Page Station hosting - Host your podcasts on the Web Page Station server for your listeners to subscribe and download.
* How-to Guide for Podcasting - Get started with easy instructions.

Tool Factory Podcasting enables educators and students to extend learning beyond the four walls of the classroom, the announcement states. Teachers can record lessons, students can build class projects, and parents can take part in daily classroom activities. Students, parents, and community members can then subscribe to the podcasts for automatic downloads of new episodes.

Tool Factory Podcasting is available for the Windows platform and is networkable. A single copy is $99.99; building licences are $999.95. Visit www.toolfactory.com to take a product tour. There are also training videos that demonstrate the entire process in less than 2 minutes.

Source: Tool Factory, http://www.toolfactory.com

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Heinemann-Raintree Announces “Ask a Librarian” Service for Educators

Educational publisher Heinemann-Raintree has announced the launch of Ask a Librarian, a free service for educators. This Web-based feature will allow visitors to interface with a staff librarian and submit inquiries on a variety of topics. Librarians can use the feature to gain assistance in selecting titles, get suggestions for collection development, obtain tips for promoting nonfiction, and receive advice for meeting the needs of readers.

Heinemann-Raintree officially launched the Ask a Librarian feature on March 19, 2007. The service is available through the company's two library Web sites at www.heinemannlibrary.com and www.raintreelibrary.com.

Heinemann-Raintree, a division of Harcourt Education, is a leading publisher of children's nonfiction books, serving schools and public libraries. For more information, visit www.heinemannraintree.com.

Source: Heinemann-Raintree, www.heinemannraintree.com

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