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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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September 18, 2007

Table of Contents

Free Resources: USGS Learning Web—Geologic Age
Monterey Institute for Technology and Education Launches HippoCampus, a Free Online Learning Tool
Dukane AirSlate2
Inspiration Releases InspireData 1.5
Free Resources: ABC-CLIO's “History and the Headlines--Constitution Day”
MetaMetrics Launches New Measure of Student Writing Ability
ISTE Publishes New Edition of NET*S
Interwrite Learning, TeacherTube Announce Interactive Makeover Video Contest
Sally Ride Science Contributes Content to Google Earth's New Sky Feature
EPals Drops Subscription Fees for SchoolMail, SchoolBlog, and Online Literacy Curriculum
Free Resources: Sally Ride Science Blog
Curriculum Advantage Launches Classworks Science

Free Resources: USGS Learning Web—Geologic Age

Once again, a tip on great free learning resources has come to us by way of the Internet Scout Project from the Computer Science Department at the University of Wisconsin, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin—Madison Libraries. The September 14, 2007 Scout Report includes a pointer to USGS Learning Web: Geologic Age. From the report:

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has created a number of instructional materials for teachers as part of its Learning Web site, and this particular lesson plan [is] designed for use by grades 7-12. …  This set of resources includes a background essay on the use of radioactive decay to determine geologic age, and continues on to provide detailed information on a classroom activity that is both engaging and informative. …

Click HERE to link to this item in the September 14, 2007 Scout Report, which, of course, features a link to the USGS site.

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Monterey Institute for Technology and Education Launches HippoCampus, a Free Online Learning Tool

The Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE) has announced the launch of HippoCampus <www.hippocampus.org>, a free interactive homework help Web site that provides comprehensive high school, Advanced Placement,  and college general education course content suitable for advanced learners, credit recovery, home schooling, and general student use.

The trial version of HippoCampus has already been serving thousands of students, who use the site to access multimedia courses in algebra, physics, biology, calculus, U.S. history, civics, environmental science, and other general education subjects.

The new site gives instructors tools for customization, similar to MyYahoo or MyGoogle. Instructors can point their students to a HippoCampus link that features only the course materials selected by the instructor, and can post messages and bookmark pages of particular interest to their students.

HippoCampus, supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is an Open Education Resource (OER), part of a worldwide collaborative effort of academic institutions and educators to make quality education available for everyone.

Source: The Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE), www.montereyinstitute.org.

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Dukane AirSlate2

Dukane Corporation announced the release of the upgraded AirSlate 2, a wireless annotation and mouse control pad that gives an instructor the freedom to roam around the classroom while giving a presentation.

The device communicates with a computer through a wireless Bluetooth interface. Twelve customizable macro keys allow instant access to Web sites, programs (annotation, MS Word, MS Excel, etc.) and other applications. The included software uses three programs for annotation and drawing at various levels. The programs use pencil, brush pen, and color highlighters for annotations.

Easiteach interactive educational software is also provided.

Dukane Corporation, www.dukcorp.com/av.  

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Inspiration Releases InspireData 1.5

InspireData 1.5 is the first update to Inspiration Software’s InspireData program designed to help students in grades 4-12 explore and understand data.

The program’s new features include an e-Survey function for online data collection, more plot and expanded table options, more than 100 content-rich databases, and expanded teacher tools and resources.

Single copies of the program are priced at $79. Special pricing is available for volume purchases and updates.

Current InspireData users can upgrade their software with an online download at no charge. An upgrade kit containing hard copies of the CD, documentation, and Quick Reference Cards is available for $19.

Fully functioning 30-day trial previews are available for download.

Inspiration Software, www.inspiration.com or 800/877-4292.

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Free Resources: ABC-CLIO's “History and the Headlines--Constitution Day”

ABC-CLIO launches the first in its Fall 2007 lineup of free online reference and activity collections with a nod to Constitution Day (Monday, September 17).

The new collection, "History and the Headlines: Constitution Day,” explores the evolving story of the U.S. Constitution and the role it plays in the lives of U.S. residents.

The National Archives and ABC-CLIO teamed up to offer this reference library designed to provide secondary history students, teachers, and school library media specialists thousands of ready-to-use materials that put history into context.

ABC-CLIO, www.abc-clio.com.

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MetaMetrics Launches New Measure of Student Writing Ability

MetaMetrics Inc . has announced the launch of The Lexile Framework for Writing <http://www.metametricsinc.com>. Joining the Lexile Framework for Reading and The Quantile Framework for Mathematics, The Lexile Framework for Writing enables educators to measure and monitor growth in student writing ability on a common developmental scale over time and across the curriculum, the announcement states.

The Lexile Framework for Writing expresses student writing ability on the same Lexile <http://www.lexile.com> scale as reading ability, providing educators with a consistent and straightforward method to monitor growth in both reading and writing and to reinforce the importance of reading in the development of writing skills. A Lexile writer measure is an estimate of a student's ability to express language in writing, based on factors related to semantic complexity, or the level of words used, and syntactic sophistication, or how the words are written into sentences. A student's Lexile writer measure typically is lower than his or her Lexile reader measure, as students tend to comprehend text at a higher Lexile level than they can produce written text. Like Lexile reader measures and Quantile measures, students will receive Lexile writer measures from standardized tests and other assessment tools.

MetaMetrics Inc. develops scientifically based measures of student achievement that link assessment with instruction. In addition to licensing Lexiles and Quantiles to state departments of education, testing and instructional companies, and publishers, MetaMetrics delivers professional development, resource measurement, and customized consulting services.

Source: MetaMetrics Inc., www.metametricsinc.com

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ISTE Publishes New Edition of NET*S

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) recently released the second edition of its National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NET*S).

The revised standards focus more on skills and expertise and less on technology tools. The update addresses creativity and innovation; communication and collaboration; research and information fluency; critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making; digital citizenship; and technology operations and concepts.

The new publication includes the full text of the revised NET*S and performance indicators, student profiles and examples, and the results of a scenario survey.

The ISTE member price is $11.65; the non-member price is $12.95.

First published in 1998, the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NET*S) were the result of nearly three years of development among a broad range of stakeholders. Used in every U.S. state and in many other countries, the standards are credited with significantly influencing expectations for students and their use of technology.

ISTE, www.iste.org or 800/336-5191.

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Interwrite Learning, TeacherTube Announce Interactive Makeover Video Contest

Interwrite Learning, in partnership with TeacherTube, has announced the company’s first video contest to recognize teachers and students for their creativity and use of technology in the classroom. Participants of the contest are asked to create a short music video parodying the song of their choice. The video should demonstrate how different kinds of technology are being used in the classroom.

The contest is not limited to users of Interwrite Learning’s products or members of TeacherTube. It is open to all teachers and students in the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia who can creatively show how they are using technology in the classroom.

All participants will submit their videos on the Interwrite Learning Web site at www.interwritelearning.com/contest.  Submissions open on September 11, 2007, and close at 11:59 EDT on October 21, 2007. Winners of the Interwrite Makeover will be announced on Tuesday, November 27, 2007.

Winners will be awarded with a complete Interwrite Makeover consisting of:

Interwrite Board, an interactive whiteboard that features the Interwrite Workspace software.
Interwrite Pad, a wireless pad that gives teachers the ability to teach interactive lessons from anywhere in the classroom.
Interwrite Cricket, the newest member of the Interwrite assessment family. Cricket is a clicker for students of all ages. Cricket "clickers" use radio-frequency technology that makes real-time student assessment practical for any classroom setting, according to the announcement.
Mitsubishi XD206 DLP projector that integrates with the Interwrite Boards and Pads with an RS–232c port for 3rd party control.
FrontRow Pro Digital, a sound system shown to improve attention, test scores, and teacher vocal health.
SP Controls, Inc.’s Pixie wall mounted modular control system.
Brewer Technology and Learning will provide one full day (up to six hours) of professional development to each of the winning schools in order to help teachers learn to use the Interwrite Makeover equipment as tools to enhance and accelerate the learning process.

The complete interactive makeover is valued at approximately $15,000. In addition, winners will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a celebration party for the entire school. The contest will name one winner from the following three grade level segments: Kindergarten through fifth; sixth through eighth; and ninth through 12th.

For information on rules and guidelines for participating in the video contest, visit http://www.interwritelearning.com/contest.

Source: Interwrite Learning, www.interwritelearning.com

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Sally Ride Science Contributes Content to Google Earth's New Sky Feature

Sally Ride Science has announced that it is contributing science content to Google Earth's new Sky Feature, enabling teachers and students to explore the universe and learn about astronomy from their computers.

To educate visitors as they tour the universe, Sally Ride Science contributes cutting-edge content on nebulae and exoplanets to Sky in Google Earth. The Sky feature allows users of Google Earth to view the sky as seen from planet Earth and navigate through 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. The Sally Ride Science content, which appears as a Keyhole Markup Language (KML) file on Sky, is drawn from the new Sally Ride Science Classroom Set on Astronomy, one of four Classroom Sets available to schools this fall.

With Sky and the Astronomy Classroom Set, teachers and students can learn about some of Dr. Sally Ride’s favorite extra-solar places — nebulae where stars are born, remnants of exploding stars, and even stars that have planets orbiting around them.

The Astronomy Classroom Set brings science to life with nonfiction readers that examine the latest scientific findings about our solar system and beyond, including the reclassification of Pluto to a “dwarf planet.” The set presents information about scientists and the tools developed to study stars and exoplanets light years away. Sally Ride Science also offers Classroom Sets on the Solar System, Science Careers, and Climate Change. Each set presents critical content through clear and lively text, vibrant photography, thought provoking activities and real-world examples from cutting-edge scientists, according to the announcement.

In addition to contributing science content, Ride posts a blog on Google Earth to share her insights and experiences about space and science. The first installment can be found at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/view-from-sky.html.

To learn more about Sky, Ride and Google engineer Greg Coombe showcase some of Sky’s capabilities and the wonders of space in a brief video available on Google Earth at http://earth.google.com/sky/index.html.

Source: Sally Ride Science, www.SallyRideScience.com

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EPals Drops Subscription Fees for SchoolMail, SchoolBlog, and Online Literacy Curriculum

Internet learning community ePals, Inc. has announced it has made its policy-managed SchoolMail, SchoolBlog, and online literacy curricula services available free of charge to schools worldwide.

ePals' connectivity tools and digital literacy curricula include the following:

- SchoolMail, an integrated email service in use in schools around the world. SchoolMail offers teacher-monitored email to ensure secure usage; a built-in instant translation matrix for 72 language pairs; file sharing and spell checking; virus and spam filters; and easily-accessed manuals and tutorials.

- SchoolBlog is a literacy education tool for teaching students to express their ideas, collaborate with other students and teachers, and involve parents in a secure online environment. SchoolBlog builds literacy skills, exposes students to a real audience, and encourages cultural idea exchange on a global basis, according to the announcement. Message boards are teacher-supervised to ensure that emails and blogs circulate exclusively in the educational environment.

- In2Books, an evidence-based literacy curriculum (www.In2Books.com) developed by a team of national literacy experts, provides an online learning experience built around a pen-pal dialogue between a student and an adult mentor. Independent studies have shown that students participating in In2Books significantly outperform other students in standardized reading tests, and increase critical thinking and writing proficiency.

All of ePals' tools are optimized for policy-managed security standards so that each school district or campus can regulate student interactions with the site based on its own specific Internet policies.

For more information on ePals and company services, visit www.epals.com.

Source: ePals, www.epalscorp.com

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Free Resources: Sally Ride Science Blog

The Sally Ride Science blog features a series of science-themed entries designed to help elementary and middle school teachers illustrate real-world applications of science concepts and spark classroom discussions.

The first blog installment, “Back to School, Back to Space,” features daily entries about NASA astronaut and teacher Barbara Morgan’s August 2007 flight to the International Space Station. “Back to School, Back to Space” shares Morgan’s experiences about being a teacher in space and provides an up-close look into her daily activities.

The blog entries, located online at www.sallyridescience.com/blog, were authored by journalist Irene Klotz, a freelance writer and columnist specializing in aerospace. Klotz kept in touch with Morgan throughout the mission to develop the blog material.

NASA astronaut Barbara Morgan began her teaching career in 1974. Morgan was selected as the backup candidate for the NASA Teacher in Space program in 1985. She trained with Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger crew at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. After the Challenger accident, Morgan assumed the duties of Teacher in Space Designee.

In fall 1986, she returned to Idaho to resume teaching at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School, where she remained until 1998. During that time, she continued to work with NASA’s Education Division.

In 1998, Morgan was selected by NASA as a mission specialist and reported to the Johnson Space Center. After two years of training and evaluation, she was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch. She then served in the Astronaut Office CAPCOM Branch, working in Mission Control as prime communicator with on-orbit crews. More recently, she served in the Robotics Branch of the Astronaut Office.

Sally Ride Science is a science content company founded in 2001 by Dr. Sally Ride, best known as America’s first woman in space. The company is dedicated to supporting girls’ and boys’ interests in science, math and technology. A key part of the company’s mission is to make a difference in girls’ lives and in society’s perceptions of their roles in technical fields.

Sally Ride Science, www.SallyRideScience.com or 800/561-5161.

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Curriculum Advantage Launches Classworks Science

Curriculum Advantage, Inc. has announced it is launching Classworks Science, a new elementary school science program to address concerns about American students' science proficiency. Results from a recent assessment ranked U.S. secondary students 24th out of 29 countries against their foreign counterparts in math and science competence.

Curriculum Advantage has been hearing from its customers – school superintendents and principals – that there is a critical need for science instructional software, especially since schools’ Adequate Yearly Progress ratings will include science for the first time this year. The new product, designed for third- through fifth-graders, is becoming available just as schools are facing new No Child Left Behind testing requirements in science. Classworks’ middle school and high school science products are currently under development.

Curriculum Advantage partnered with Six Red Marbles to develop Classworks Science. Additionally, Ken French, a consultant for the National Science Teachers’ Association (NSTA) and a science manager for several prominent textbook publishers, assisted in the initial stage of Classworks Science’s development. His effort on Classworks Science comes on the heels of work for publishers such as Holt, Rinehart & Winston, McGraw-Hill-Glencoe, and Prentice-Hall.

The new Classworks Science product will also use the Lexile Framework to provide a common developmental scale to match students’ reading abilities with the reading levels of the science instruction. By using the Lexile scale, time spent on the computer will be more effective because students will understand more of what they read.

Source: Curriculum Advantage, www.curriculumadvantage.com

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