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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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May 29, 2007

Table of Contents

Cool Links: Teaching Green with "Blue Vinyl"
ST Math Algebra Readiness
Cool Links: Technical Difficulties: Virginia’s Online SOL Exams
Virtual High Schools Announces 2007 Summer School Program
ClickN' KIDS, Inc. Announces ClickN' READ Phonics
CoSN Hosts Local EdTech Clinics
Interwrite Learning Announces Partnership with MathMastery
Cool Links: Let's Talk Metasearch, Federated Search, or Universal Search
Videocraft Workshop Ships Start Editing Now! Classroom Workshop Edition
Knowledge Adventure to Offer Awards to Schools in Need of Reading Assistance

Cool Links: Teaching Green with "Blue Vinyl"

"Blue Vinyl: The World's First Toxic Comedy," a documentary directed by Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold, takes a charming look at a chilling situation with worldwide implications.

Helfand decided to learn how vinyl is made when her parents wanted to re-cover their home with blue vinyl. She presents her findings in this 2002 film, a winner of Emmy and Sundance Film Festival awards.

The documentary is available on DVD for $25 in a package designed to encourage public viewing events. The bundle includes one-time public screening rights (a $195 value), guidance in hosting a screening event, press and publicity materials, and resources to share with individuals who want to join the PVC-free revolution.

The film's companion Web site, www.MyHouseisYourHouse.org, provides an array of links to green building resources such as the Habitat for Humanity awards, the Healthy Building Network, the Ecological Building Network, PVCinformation.org, and more.

The site's Cost and Affordability section examines the economics of phasing out polyvinyl chloride (PVC), building green on a budget, construction methods, and affordable housing.

In her documentary, Helfand points out that "ordinary Americans have the power to make dangerous building materials obsolete." These materials are designed to assist that effort.

Working Films, 910/342-900 or www.workingfilms.org.

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ST Math Algebra Readiness

ST Math Algebra Readiness, for students in grades 6 to 8, takes a building-block approach to providing mathematical problems and exercises aligned to the foundational math concepts and skills needed to learn algebra.

The program covers targeted Algebra Readiness standards, as specified by California, as well as foundational standards from grades 3-8.

ST Math Algebra Readiness was developed by MIND Institute co-founder Dr. Matthew Peterson, a neuroscientist who created the original ST Math program. Dr. Peterson's research work focuses on applications of neursocience to learning environments.

MIND Institute, 888/751-5443 or www.mindinst.org.

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Cool Links: Technical Difficulties: Virginia’s Online SOL Exams

The Washington Post takes a look at problems with online testing in a May 28 article that examines disruptions in this year's Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) testing.

Read the article, titled "Assessment Industry Faces a Test of Its Own," online at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/27/AR2007052701082.html?hpid=sec-education.

The Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com.

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Virtual High Schools Announces 2007 Summer School Program

Virtual High School Global Consortium, which offers virtual schooling for high school students and online professional development for teachers, has announced their 2007 Summer School Program. For the first time, the organization is offering eight-week summer school courses online for full year courses such as Algebra 1, English 9, and English 10, subjects that many students struggle with. The program is particularly intended for the growing number of high school students whose schools do not offer summer school or only offer it for credit recovery.

The Summer School Program will be offered in three sessions, two 4-week sessions and an 8-week Extended Session for full-year courses. Session 1 starts on July 2, 2007, and the Extended Session will conclude on August 24, 2007. The courses offered include Algebra 1, Basic Chemistry, English 9, English 10, Health, Pre-Algebra/Algebra Preparation and U.S. History, all of which will be taught by VHS certified teachers who have completed their rigorous 10-week professional development program.

VHS is a non-profit collaborative consisting of schools, teachers, and students. The organization partners with school districts to provide nearly 250 core, Advanced Placement (AP), and elective NetCourses, allowing schools to expand curriculum offerings with courses they otherwise would not be able to offer. Each course is taught by a highly qualified and certified teacher at VHS member schools, according to the announcement. These teachers first complete VHS's online professional development program, which teaches how to transform all of the elements of an in-person course into an online course and engage and foster collaboration among students. They then deliver online asynchronous VHS courses while continuing to teach at their face-to-face schools. While the course teacher may be located in a particular state or country, the 25 students in the course can represent many different states and countries. As a result, VHS's virtual schooling courses foster online collaboration with students from all over the globe.

For more information, visit www.govhs.org.

Source: Virtual High School, www.govhs.org

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ClickN' KIDS, Inc. Announces ClickN' READ Phonics

ClickN' KIDS, Inc. has announced the introduction of ClickN' READ Phonics, a reading resource that combines the latest research and core curriculum-approved courses into a series of 100 fully-animated and interactive online lessons that are designed to teach children how to read on their own via a home or school computer.

ClickN' READ Phonics is a patent-pending online reading phonics program that features an animated character who acts as a reading buddy for children, leading them through a series of fun and engaging online reading lessons. The program also includes student assessment reports, as well as printable practice and review exercises. Parents and teachers may receive a free online demo of ClickN' READ Phonics at www.ClickNKIDS.com.

ClickN' READ Phonics was authored by nationally recognized research professor Dr. J. Ron Nelson. ClickN' READ Phonics is also based upon research conducted by two independent research organizations, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Reading Panel. Meeting all U.S. federal and state educational guidelines as mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act, ClickN' READ Phonics automatically instills in children the critical blend of skills necessary for proficient reading - including letter identification, phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, high frequency sight words, word blending, word families, word endings, storybook reading, and spelling, the announcement states.

The ClickN' READ Phonics reading program is intended as a learn-to-read resource for individuals of virtually all ages and learning environments - including home-schoolers, ESL, adult students, autistic, and dyslexic children, as well as public and private school children. It has been successfully tested in more than 2000 schools nationwide and in over 100 countries, according to the announcement.

For more information, contact ClickN' KIDS at www.ClickNKIDS.com.

Source: ClickN' KIDS, www.clicknkids.com

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CoSN Hosts Local EdTech Clinics

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is offering a series of professional development training clinics for school district technology leaders. The sessions will be held in Texas, Georgia and California.

CoSN and its state chapters will host the one- or two-day clinics featuring interactive sessions where participants will hear "best practice" case studies and share experiences with colleagues.

The clinics will cover topics including the value of technology investments, Web 2.0 tools in education, open technology solutions, IT disaster preparedness, data-driven decision making, cyber security and social networking, and data retention.

The clinic schedule:

June 19-20 in Plano, Texas (near Dallas). Produced with the Texas K-12 CTO Council and Louisiana Chief Technology Officers' Association.

June 27 in Atlanta, Georgia (during the NECC conference). Produced with the Georgia CIO Council.

July 17 in Santa Clara, California (near San Jose). Produced with CEPTA/3C Council.

Sponsors for the CTO/CIO Clinics include Apple, AT&T, Cisco, Dell, GaggleNet, Harcourt, HP, Promethean, Microsoft, SAS inSchool, Synscourt, Toshiba, Vericept Corporation, Verizon Business, Wimba and Xirrus.

CoSN, www.cosn.org.

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Interwrite Learning Announces Partnership with MathMastery

Interwrite Learning has announced that it is partnering with Systems Impact, Inc. dba MathMastery to provide premium, interactive math content for its elementary and middle school teachers using the Interwrite Board, Pad or Panel. MathMastery's math curriculum—available online and on DVD—operates with the Interwrite Workspace application for instruction and assessment using digital content.

The MathMastery curriculum, available in English and Spanish, includes Core Concepts in math, with programs ranging from addition and equations to roots and exponents -- covering the needs of students from grades two through eight. These scientifically proven programs have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for their excellence, according to the announcement. Available online as "MyMasteryNetwork," as well as on DVD, the videos and interactive practice problems can operate with Interwrite Workspace to give teachers an extra dimension of control and interactivity, thanks to the 50 instructional tools available in Workspace. MyMasteryNetwork also includes progress tracking where each student can monitor their individual progress at home with the help of their parents.

MathMastery content is available through Interwrite Learning in both DVD and online forms and with special introductory pricing. Available immediately, the 8 Core Concepts in Math: Interactive Classroom Edition (includes both teacher and student logins) will be available for $495 and Core Concepts in Math: Interactive Schoolwide Edition will be available for $1,995.

Source: Interwrite Learning, www.interwritelearning.com.

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Cool Links: Let's Talk Metasearch, Federated Search, or Universal Search

The folks at ResourceShelf recently posted a very interesting current and historical analysis article on federated searching. Here are a couple of a paragraphs from it, to whet your appetite:

With all of the talk about Google's Universal Search initiative ... we think it's important to take a look at what's currently out there and where things are going...

For many years, ResourceShelf has been talking about metasearch or, as some call it, federated search, single interface, or cross-database searching. In a nutshell, we're talking about one search that will query multiple databases in a single query, dedupe results, sort (as desired by the end user; most likely by relevance), and offer post processing options. Perhaps the most important issue is database selection help; with technology coming online, that can be made easier. This is key because, in truth, most users just want results and care little where they are coming from. Resource selection can be and should be a key role for the info professional.

All of this makes sense in our opinion. Why? If done properly, universal search/metasearch can save the end user/searcher time, effort and aggravation. If—and this is a big if—it's done correctly. If it's done incorrectly, you've created a mess.

What's really nice about the article is its collection of examples of how various search sites implement this concept, there for you to click on, examine, and compare. So it's an analysis and, at the same time, a sort of tutorial.

Click HERE to read ResourceShelf's "Let's Talk Metasearch, Federated Search, or Universal Search" at the ResourceShelf Web site.

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Videocraft Workshop Ships Start Editing Now! Classroom Workshop Edition

Videocraft Workshop has announced it has released START EDITING NOW! Classroom Workshop Edition. With its shipment, teachers now have the tools and resources they need to get students excited about the art of video editing and digital storytelling and provide students with hands-on materials to develop and hone their skills, according to the announcement. The program addresses digital video editing for students at all levels of editing expertise from grades 6-12. It combines professionally shot, royalty-free video with a semester's worth of lesson plans, printable curriculum materials, and enrichment activities.

Like the START EDITING NOW! consumer version, the Classroom Workshop Edition features an interactive DVD program that students can use to learn at their own pace, in small groups or as a whole class. Disc One has lessons and a video teacher's guide. Students can then put those lessons to use and practice video editing techniques with Discs Two and Three. Both discs feature royalty-free footage for students to assemble and create their own version of one of three professionally shot video "mini-movies." These "mini-movies" can be edited in hundreds of ways using more than 150 individual scenes or "takes" provided with the program.

The Multi-Track Movie footage purposely creates common editing challenges such as jump cuts and action changes that require cut-away shots, and then provides the "B-roll" footage and multiple scene choices necessary for the student to meet those challenges. In addition, instructors can use the footage to dissect common challenges experienced in video editing, while illustrating ways to address or prevent such challenges in the future.

The Classroom Workshop Edition, priced at $129.95, is compatible with all video editing software programs, including those bundled free with all modern PC and Macintosh computers. Educators can purchase multiple user copies or site licenses online at www.videocraftworkshop.com.

Source: Videocraft Workshop, www.videocraftworkshop.com

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Knowledge Adventure to Offer Awards to Schools in Need of Reading Assistance

Knowledge Adventure has announced that on July 1, 2007, it will launch its Schools in Need Competition. The competition will provide 10 awards, each valued at $12,000, to 10 schools in need of reading assistance for their students.

 The Schools in Need Competition is open to schools that need to raise reading scores by at least 30 percent among a population of students between grades K-8. Schools must also show a need to have supplemental reading materials that address specific reading deficiencies and to use the technological investments the school has made for reading instruction. Winning schools will receive the new Knowledge Adventure Academy line of products for early literacy, reading comprehension, and vocabulary, along with training and support. Schools may enter by completing an online form at www.knowledgeadventureschool.com that allows them to explain why their school is in need of reading assistance.

 Entries must be received by no later than 11:59 PM on December 15, 2007 and will be judged by a panel of experts appointed by Knowledge Adventure School. The winning schools will be announced on January 23, 2008.

 Knowledge Adventure will assist the winning schools with the implementation and evaluation of student usage. The company will also use its managing and reporting system to record student progress at the schools.

Complete competition rules will be available at www.knowledgeadventureschool.com on July 1, 2007.

Source: Knowledge Adventure, www.knowledgeadventureschool.com

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