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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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May 01, 2007

Table of Contents

ITI Cross Links: NOAA Lab Opens 3-D Earth Site in Second Life
Cool Links: YALSA Launches Teen Read Week 2007 Web Site
Thomson Gale Adds Critical Thinking Component to Opposing Viewpoints
Evan-Moor Offers TeacherFileBox.com
Free Resources: FREE Directory of Educational Web Sites and Tools
Cool Links: ResourceShelf Comments on “Wikipedia Users—A New Report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project”
Pearson Knowledge Technologies Launches WriteToLearn v.3.0
Adobe Announces New Site Licensing Option for Schools to Deploy Creative Suite 3
YALSA Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults Recognition Awards: Apply Now
Cool Links: Don't Tell Your Parents--Schools Embrace MySpace
ETS Renames ICT Literacy Assessment and Introduces New Institutional Score Reports

ITI Cross Links: NOAA Lab Opens 3-D Earth Site in Second Life

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has developed a government-sponsored earth science "island" in the rapidly growing online world of Second Life, a 3-D virtual world built and owned entirely by its residents, according to creator Linden Lab of San Francisco. Learn more HERE from the announcement picked up in Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks Weekly News Digest for April 30, 2007.

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Cool Links: YALSA Launches Teen Read Week 2007 Web Site

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, launched its Teen Read Week 2007 web site, www.ala.org/teenread/, which includes a variety of benefits for early registration.

This year's Teen Read Week—October 14-20, 2007—is themed "LOL @ your library." The event encourages teens nationwide to read something humorous, light, and entertaining just for the fun of it.

The first 100 online registrants to sign up for YALSA's Teen Read Week will receive a free unabridged audiobook from a Printz or Alex Award-winning author. One winner, selected at random, will receive an audiobook library collection of 12 titles by Printz and Alex Award-winning authors. The prizes include audiobooks by Angela Johnson, Markus Zusak, M.T. Anderson, Meg Rosoff, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Michael Lewis, and more. The free audiobooks are donated by Listening Library.

The first 500 online registrants will receive a galley from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and will be entered into a drawing for a signed set of the Twilight series, including "Eclipse," the newest book (available August 7) or a signed set of the Gossip Girls paperbacks, books 1-12, and the hardcover prequel (available in October).

In addition, the first 50 new regular members who join YALSA through the Teen Read Week web site will receive the Chronicles for Young Readers gift set by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, which includes "A Rumor of Dragons," "Night of the Dragons," "The Nightmare Lands," "To the Gates of Palanthas," "Hope's Flamem," and "Dawn of the Dragons." The books are provided by Mirrorstone Books, an imprint of Wizards of the Coast.

The Teen Read Week web site provides annotated lists of recommended reading for teens, tips for planning and promoting local Teen Read Week events, Teen Read products available for purchase, links to the Teen's Top Ten list of book favorites chosen by teens, resources to help generate publicity about library events, and more.

Teen Read Week is now in its 10th year. In 2006, more than 3,500 participants registered on the Teen Read Week web site.

YALSA, 800/545-2433 or www.ala.org/yalsa/.

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Thomson Gale Adds Critical Thinking Component to Opposing Viewpoints

The new Critical Thinking module of Thomson Gale's Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center offers activities, assessments, and tools that encourage students to interact with, argue about, and analyze issues and concepts.

The material helps students develop critical thinking skills while supporting their personal development and mastery of the curriculum. Students can use the module as a self-directed learning tool, as a resource for group projects, and as a classroom tool.

The Critical Thinking resources feature activities, quizzes, and audio entries. The content aligns with state curriculum standards and library programs.

Segments include "Questions to Think About," "Words to Know," and "Find Out More." Each topic has three entries: an overview and two viewpoint entries to encourage balanced and unbiased research. The content, comprised of reference and periodical resources, covers 250 of the most assigned topics including crime prevention, drug abuse, euthanasia, illegal immigration, school violence, and stem cell research.

Thomson Gale, 800/877-4253 or www.gale.com.

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Evan-Moor Offers TeacherFileBox.com

TeacherFileBox.com, a subscription-based print-on-demand library, provides 7,000 supplemental learning activities across the elementary school curriculum, from Pre-K through grade 6.

The material—30,000 pages—is designed to improve test scores and reinforce basic skills. The web site includes an online lesson planning tool and age-appropriate activities for whole class, small group, and differentiated instruction. The resources include stories with comprehension worksheets, science experiments, and classroom plays with parts for every student.

The site's customizable features allow teachers to create personalized lists of recent searches and organize activities by month, subject, and grade. Users can flag supplemental activities that correlate with curriculum for future use.

The online materials, written by educators, are aligned with core curriculum and current standards.

Individual subscriptions with access to an unlimited number of activities are priced at $9.99 per month. Annual subscriptions are available for $99.

Evan-Moor Educational Publishers, www.evan-moor.com or www.TeacherFileBox.com.

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Free Resources: FREE Directory of Educational Web Sites and Tools

Gary Price's ResourceShelf recently offered this description and pointer to the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) directory. From the April 26, 2007, ResourceShelf article:

FREE (Federal Resources for Educational Excellence) aggregates education resources from numerous government agencies, compiled/maintained by members of the Office of the chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Education …

The article then notes and links to recently added FREE resources, including Practical Uses of Math and Science, which "offers over 60 one-page examples of how science and math can be used in interesting settings and everyday life … " Click HERE to see the whole ResourceShelf article.

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Cool Links: ResourceShelf Comments on “Wikipedia Users—A New Report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project”

In the April 25, 2007, ResourceShelf listings, there's a link to the new Pew Internet and American Life Project report on Wikipedia users that's worth following. But wait, there's more! After delivering this tidbit from the Pew report:

More than a third of American adult internet users (36%) consult the Citizen-generated online encyclopedia Wikipedia, according to a new nationwide survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And on a typical day in the winter of 2007, 8% of online Americans consulted Wikipedia.

… the ResourceShelf editors have created a thoughtful article under the moniker "A Few Quick Reactions to the Report." It's mostly in the form of questions followed by interesting, informed remarks. For example:

  • Do people only utilize Wikipedia because they don't know that other resources exist …
  • Do some users realize that new projects, like Citizendium, exist …
  • Do users understand … that some [Wikipedia] entries, legitimate ones from our perspective, require people they are about to jump through hoops to get an entry approved, while others don't? …

You can find the link to the Pew report and the full ResourceShelf article of further insights and musings HERE at ResourceShelf.

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Pearson Knowledge Technologies Launches WriteToLearn v.3.0

Pearson Knowledge Technologies (PKT) has launched WriteToLearn 3.0, an update of its Web-based learning tool for developing writing and reading comprehension skills. Offering both summary and essay writing activities, WriteToLearn now provides students with expanded feedback on their essays and gives teachers a tool for targeting their students with ability-appropriate reading passages.

With WriteToLearn, students practice essay writing and summarization skills, and their efforts are measured by the state-of-the-art Knowledge Analysis Technologies (KAT) engine, which automatically evaluates the meaning of text by examining whole passages. The KAT engine is an automated assessment technology that evaluates the meaning of text, not just grammatical correctness or spelling.

WriteToLearn 3.0 now gives student writing a score for each of six traits of writing: ideas, organization, conventions, sentence fluency, word choice, and voice. It also offers students expanded feedback on how to improve their essays and their scores on each of the traits.

The more than 100 reading passages available for summarizing in WriteToLearn 3.0 now have Lexile measures. As the most widely adopted reading measure, The Lexile Framework for Reading measures both reader ability and text difficulty on the same scale.

WriteToLearn is available from Pearson Assessments, Pearson Digital Learning, Pearson Prentice Hall and Apple (as part of the Apple Digital Learning Series for middle and high school language arts). More information about WriteToLearn is available at www.writetolearn.net.

Source: Pearson Knowledge Technologies, www.pearsonkt.com

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Adobe Announces New Site Licensing Option for Schools to Deploy Creative Suite 3

Adobe Systems Inc. has announced new site licensing options, curriculum and certification programs for primary and secondary schools deploying Adobe Creative Suite 3. The new resources will make it easier for schools to deploy Adobe's new offering of integrated design and development tools into the curriculum, as well as into career and technical education programs, according to the announcement.

The new Creative Suite 3 K-12 School Site Licenses help primary and secondary schools to cost-effectively deploy Creative Suite on school-owned or school-leased computers across the campus. Once deployed, educators can implement one or more of the year-long project-based curricula that help to develop key digital communication and foundational career skills for students. The curricula, which ships on a DVD with the site licenses, include Visual Design: Foundations of Design and Print Production; Digital Design: Foundations of Web Design; and Digital Video: Foundations of Video Design and Production. Projects in each curriculum engage students in all aspects of design and development from planning to evaluation.

Additionally, through a partnership with Certiport, Adobe will offer entry-level certification to educators and students. The new Adobe Certified Associate program validates communication and technology skills and tests for competencies in the use of Adobe technology.

Additional information on Adobe Creative Suite 3 K-12 School Licenses, certification, and curriculum is available at www.adobe.com/education.

Source: Adobe Systems, Inc., www.adobe.com

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YALSA Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults Recognition Awards: Apply Now

The Excellence Award Task Force of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is looking for 25 exemplary teen programs/services in all types of libraries to include in a fifth edition of "Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults."

The top five programs will receive cash awards of $1,000 each. Twenty "best of the rest" applications will receive cash awards of $250.

Program categories include: Enhancing Teen Spaces (Physical or Virtual), Teen Tech Week, Creative Teen Clubs, Promotion of Award-Winning Young Adult Literature, Reading Raves, Community Connections, Living in a Diverse World, Services Under $100, and Special Events.

Program details, application instructions, and a required cover sheet can be found online. The submission deadline is June 1, 2007.

This program to recognize excellence in library service to teens was initiated by ALA Past President Hardy Franklin in 1993.

YALSA, 800/545-2433 or www.ala.org/yalsa/.

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Cool Links: Don't Tell Your Parents--Schools Embrace MySpace

Here's a cool link to an article on Wired.com. Briefly, it starts: "... as part of a wider trend toward less top-down teaching, [some schools] are putting tools like MySpace, Bebo and Facebook on the curriculum -- and teachers are saying: 'Thanks for the add.'" The main focus is the open-source social networking software Elgg, developed at the University of Brighton in England, which "has been designed specifically with academic uses in mind."

Click HERE to read Robert Andrews' article "Don't Tell Your Parents--Schools Embrace MySpace" at Wired.com.

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ETS Renames ICT Literacy Assessment and Introduces New Institutional Score Reports

ETS has announced that it has changed the name of its ICT Literacy Assessment to the iSkill assessment and is also introducing new, customizable score reports for institutions.

The iSkills assessment is a simulation-based test designed to measure information and communication technology (ICT) literacy, that is, a student's ability to navigate, critically evaluate, and communicate information using digital technology, communication tools and networks. During the 75-minute assessment, college and high school students are asked to perform 15 information problem-solving tasks—such as researching a topic from a database, identifying authoritative and unbiased Web sites, or composing an email summary of research findings.

ETS is introducing two new score reports for institutions, which will give comparative data so that institutions can compare their students' performance with students from like institutions. The "Institutional Skill Area Report" reports performance on multiple ICT literacy skill areas and compares the institution performance to that of a reference group. The "Aggregate Task Performance Feedback Report" presents data on how students performed on each of the components of the tasks. The reports are customizable to an institution's preferences. This includes the attributes of the institution's population and selection of a reference group with which the institution will be compared. Reports are free for institutions that test more than 50 students.

For more information about ETS's iSkills assessment and to view an online demo, visit www.ets.org/iskills.

Source: ETS, www.ets.org

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