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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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August 07, 2007

Table of Contents

Partnership for 21st Century Skills Releases Updated Framework for 21st Century Learning
Free Resources: Moving Forward with Technology Webinar Series
Gale Welcomes Elsevier to Gale Virtual Reference Library
YALSA Examines Studies on Youth and Library Use
Soliloquy Learning Revamps Web Site
Voyager Expanded Learning's Vmath Now Integrated With The Quantile Framework for Mathematics
Cool Links: Yummy! A New Webliography from Library of Congress About Ice Cream
SRA/McGraw-Hill Launches New Edition of Reading Intervention Program

Partnership for 21st Century Skills Releases Updated Framework for 21st Century Learning

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a national education-business coalition that developed the country’s first Framework for 21st Century Learning, has released an updated version of its framework that addresses two key questions of the U.S. education system:

·         What are the skills, knowledge, and expertise today’s students must master to compete globally and become successful 21st Century citizens?
·         What are the critical support systems schools need to produce 21st century teaching and learning outcomes?

The newly revised framework addresses these key questions by developing a clear vision for 21st century student outcomes in the new global economy. It also for the first time defines how school systems can best support these outcomes by focusing diligently on 21st century standards, assessments, professional development, curriculum and instruction, and learning environments.

Karen Cator, chair of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and director of education leadership for Apple, explained that while the Partnership’s new framework outlines a clear distinction between the 21st century student outcomes and the critical school support systems that are needed to help students master the multi-dimensional capabilities required of them in the 21st century, “all the components must be fully interconnected in the process of 21st century teaching and learning.”

This new framework provides a “compelling roadmap for the entire education system to help students learn the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly global, interconnected workforce and society,” said Bernie Trilling, Partnership board member and senior director of the Oracle Education Foundation. “The education system must move beyond its current focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting deeper understanding and real-world applications of content.  Weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes and learning projects throughout the core curriculum will go a long way toward engaging students in acquiring essential 21st century skills.”

An example of these skills can be found in a new framework category, created by the Partnership, called learning and innovation skills. These skills are increasingly recognized as distinguishing those students who can thrive in the complex life and work environments of the 21st century. The Partnership’s framework advocates for a focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration as essential to preparing students for the future.

Mastery of information, media, and technology skills is also an essential part of 21st century skills outcomes, said Charles Fadel, Partnership board member and global lead for education, Cisco Systems Inc.

Another key element of 21st century student outcomes, life and career skills, such as flexibility, innovation, self direction, social and cross cultural skills, as well as leadership and responsibility, are increasingly being identified by U.S. employers as the skills they need from their 21st century workforce. According to a 2006 workforce survey sponsored by the Partnership, The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and the Society for Human Resource Management, the majority of recent hires are not demonstrating these essential skills.

For more information on the Partnership’s expanded framework, go to www.21stcenturyskills.org.

Member organizations in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills include: Adobe Systems, Inc., American Association of School Librarians, Apple, AT&T, Blackboard, Inc., Cable in the Classroom, Cisco Systems, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Davis Publications, Dell, Inc., Discovery- Education, EF Education, Education Networks of America, Education Testing Service, Ford Motor Company Fund, Intel Foundation, JA Worldwide, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, LeapFrog SchoolHouse, McGraw-Hill Education, Microsoft Corporation, National Education Association, Oracle Education Foundation, Pearson Education, PolyVision, SAP, SAS, Texas Instruments, THINKronize, Thomson Gale, Verizon. Organizations interested in joining the Partnership may contact tyler@itstrategies.com.

Source: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, www.21stcenturyskills.org

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Free Resources: Moving Forward with Technology Webinar Series

Don Johnston, Inc. and the Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd) are co-sponsors of the “Moving Forward with Technology” free Webinar series covering a variety of technology-related topics.

Sessions in the upcoming 2007-2008 series will be presented live online. The fall schedule includes:

-Using Multimedia Materials to Engage and Challenge Learners,
September 19 at 11 a.m., e.s.t. and September 27 at 3 p.m., e.s.t.

-National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS):
Implementation Issues and Solutions
,
October 10 at 11 a.m., e.s.t. and October 30 at 3 p.m., e.s.t.

-Differentiating Instruction with Technology,
November 29 at 11 a.m., e.s.t. and December 4 at 3 p.m. e.s.t.

Previously-held sessions are archived online at the Don Johnston and CITEd web sites. The archived sessions include:

-Enhancing Content Area Reading Comprehension through Technology
-Universal Design for Learning: How to Ensure that all Students Meet AYP
-Updating Promising Practices in Reading through Technology
-Online and On Time: Supporting Technology Implementation for All Students
-Looking at Student Work for Technology Integration
-NIMAS 101: What You Need to Know

Don Johnston, Inc., www.donjohnston.com.  
CITEd, www.cited.org.  

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Gale Welcomes Elsevier to Gale Virtual Reference Library

Elsevier is the newest publishing partner on Gale Virtual Reference Library and the 38th publisher with content housed on Gale’s enhanced platform for delivering electronic reference materials as eBooks.

The 42 Elsevier titles added to Gale Virtual Reference Library focus on chemistry, mathematics, medicine, animals, physics, and physical and social science. The titles include Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition, Encyclopedia of the Solar System, International Encyclopedia of Hospitality Management, Encyclopedia of Insects, Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, and more.

Other partners recently added to Gale Virtual Reference Library include Greenwood, Brill Academic and Springer. New titles from Wiley and Sage Reference were also added.

Gale, www.gale.com.  

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YALSA Examines Studies on Youth and Library Use

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), recently turned the spotlight on two surveys that illustrate progress in staffing and use of library services for young adults.

The Public Library Association’s (PLA) 2007 Public Library Data Service (PLDS) Statistical Report tracked young adult service trends in public libraries. The report found that nearly 90 percent of the surveyed public libraries offer young adult programs, with more than half (51.9 percent) employing at least one full-time equivalent dedicated to fostering young adult programs and services, up from 11 percent in 1995.

An American Library Association poll conducted by Harris Interactive found that a significant number of responding youths between the ages of 8 and 18 used both their public library and their school library media center for personal use.

The poll found that 31 percent visit the public library more than 10 times a year and nearly 70 percent use their school library more than once a month. Of those who regularly use their libraries, more than three-quarters (78 percent) indicated they borrow books and other materials for personal use from public libraries and 60 percent said they sought out materials for personal use from the school library.

The Harris poll also found that nearly one-third of the surveyed youth would use both public (32 percent) and school libraries (33 percent) more if they offered more interesting materials to borrow. One-quarter of the respondents said they would visit their school library more if its computers didn’t block information they needed (one-fifth cited this for public libraries).

Other suggestions to draw more youth into libraries included: offering more activities and events (32 percent public, 22 percent schools), staying open for longer hours (31 percent public, 21 percent schools) and creating a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere (22 percent public, 21 percent schools).

The Public Library Association’s PLDS Statistical Report can be ordered in a print version for a cost of $120 at www.pla.org/ala/pla/plapubs/pldsstatreport/pldsstatistical.cfm. A five-page summary of data from the Harris Interactive poll is available for download as a PDF file at no charge at www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/HarrisYouthPoll.pdf.  

YALSA, www.ala.org/yalsa.  

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Soliloquy Learning Revamps Web Site

Soliloquy Learning has announced it has revamped its Web site and given it a new look. Expanding the collection of case studies and the research behind the company's speech recognition reading program, Soliloquy Reading Assistant, the updated site has become more useful to educators, according to the announcement. Audio and video demonstrations of the program and students using it contribute to the experience.  

One of the additions to the Web site is the Educator's page, which presents research on how Soliloquy Reading Assistant helps students to develop reading fluency, build vocabulary, and improve comprehension. This section also allows teachers and administrators to preview the program's various functions, like its reporting capabilities, which are demonstrated via an online tutorial.

The Web site's expanded resources section offers an application template for educators, who want to apply for grants to purchase the Soliloquy Reading Assistant for their school or district. Parts of this section also emphasize the effectiveness of the program for English language learners, special education students, and adult learners.

The improved "News and Events" area showcases the print and broadcast coverage the company and Soliloquy Reading Assistant have received. Press releases and upcoming events that company officials will be attending are posted as well.

For more information on Soliloquy Learning and the Soliloquy Reading Assistant, visit www.soliloquylearning.com.

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

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Voyager Expanded Learning's Vmath Now Integrated With The Quantile Framework for Mathematics

MetaMetrics, Inc. has announced that Voyager Expanded Learning is integrating The Quantile Framework for Mathematics into Vmath Texas Edition, the company's targeted intervention system that accelerates the mathematics achievement of struggling students by building on and reinforcing the key concepts, skills, and strategies of the state's core mathematics curriculum. Now Vmath Texas Edition is the only mathematics intervention that combines teacher-led instruction and computer-assisted practice with predictive, progress assessments powered by the Quantile Framework.

Vmath Texas Edition is correlated to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for grades 3-8. In 2007, Quantile measures were added to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) reports for all students in grades 3-11.

The Quantile Framework uses a common, developmental scale to measure student mathematics achievement, the difficulty of mathematical skills and concepts and the materials for teaching mathematics. By placing the curriculum, teaching materials, and students on the same scale, Quantiles enable educators to predict which mathematical skills and concepts a student is ready to learn and those that will require instruction. Then, students can be matched with the resources that meet their learning needs.

Texas students will take the Quantile-based assessments in Vmath four times each year, allowing teachers to monitor their progress in the program toward grade-level learning goals. Teachers will use the assessment results to analyze students' mathematics achievement and determine the appropriate beginning Vmath lesson to meet their learning needs.

Source: Voyager Expanded Learning, www.voyagerlearning.com

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Cool Links: Yummy! A New Webliography from Library of Congress About Ice Cream

For those hot summer days, our pals at ResourceShelf have hit on another fun and appropriate resource—a Webliography from the Library of Congress about ice cream! 'Nuff said here. Check out the ResourceShelf posting HERE and then cut to the LOC Webliography HERE. It was compiled by the fun loving folks of the Science Reference Section, Science, Technology and Business Division, and given the title "Selected Internet Resources—Ice Cream." Who says business and science researchers can't be cool?

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SRA/McGraw-Hill Launches New Edition of Reading Intervention Program

For students who need extra reading and language arts intervention in Grades K-8, SRA/McGraw-Hill now offers a new, extended edition of Kaleidoscope, a comprehensive program originally launched in 2003 for Grades 2-6.

SRA Kaleidoscope is designed to prevent struggling readers in Grades K-1 from falling behind and to bring Grades 2-8 students performing two or more years behind up to grade level. This effective, research-based program meets the Response to Intervention (RtI) requirements of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Kaleidoscope condenses the essence of SRA's latest basal reading and language arts program, Imagine It! It is designed to deliver two years of instruction in a single year. It can be used with other basal programs as well.

Daily lessons address each of the five critical areas of reading:

 -- Phonemic Awareness
 -- Phonics
 -- Fluency
 -- Vocabulary
 -- Comprehension

In addition, Kaleidoscope provides targeted instruction in decoding, word study, dictation, grammar, mechanics, writing, and spelling.

The program offers everything a teacher needs to teach while building student engagement, motivation, and accomplishment, according to the announcement. This includes:

 -- An Intervention Package that contains all core teacher materials
 including Teacher Editions, Blackline Masters, Annotated Teacher Editions and many more teacher components
 -- Themed lessons
 -- Differentiated instruction
 -- Integrated technology
 -- Assessment
 -- Hard cover Student Readers with high interest, lower readability reading selections
 -- Leveled Readers for Intervention for additional practice in fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension

Research has demonstrated consistent success in schools using the previous edition of SRA Kaleidoscope to bring struggling readers up to grade level. For example, Lawton Chiles Elementary School in Gainesville, Fla., showed positive results. On tests measuring words read per minute, students gained an average of 24.5 words, the announcement states.

Source: SRA/McGraw-Hill, http://SRAonline.com

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