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October 16, 2007

Table of Contents

Cool Links: David Warlick's Keynote at the K-12 Online 07 Conference
Arts Alliance America Educational Media Offers Educational Version of Award-Winning Documentary "Paper Clips"
Free Resources: Media Education Kit Published by UNESCO
Pearson Unveils Update to WriteToLearn
OnlyMyEmail Provides Comprehensive Email Solution for Schools
Vantage Learning Launches MY Access! School Edition
MIND Research Institute Ships New Algebra Readiness Supplemental Courseware
GenevaLogic Foundation Announces GenevaLogic Visionary Grants.
Facts On File Adds Videos, Color Diagrams, New Content to Science Online
New Look and Tools on Merriam-Webster's Word Central Site for Kids
CTB/McGraw-Hill Launches Enhancements to Writing Roadmap 2.0
HOSTS Learning Announces IntelliPath Instructional Management System
Free Resources: ABC-CLIO's "History and the Headlines—Sputnik Escalates the Cold War"
Pearson Integrates Science Textbooks With Web-Based Reading Comprehension and Writing Tool

Cool Links: David Warlick's Keynote at the K-12 Online 07 Conference

The K12 Online 07 Conference is in progress now, having started with David Warlick's keynote address, "Inventing the New Boundaries," today. In the keynote, Warlick examines just what it means now to be a student and/or a teacher.

In case you aren't familiar with it, the K12 Online Conference is 1) a free event that "invites participation from educators around the world interested in innovative ways Web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning," 2) very much a cutting-edge professional development undertaking, and 3) cool, owing to 1) and 2) above. And because it's cool, it rates a "Cool Link" posting at MMISchools.com

In the manner of today's students, who are known to listen to their MP3 players while they text their friends while they ponder tomorrow's pre-algebra homework problems, and do a few other things as well, no doubt, I am multitasking just now, watching as David Warlick's keynote address streams across my laptop screen even as I compose this posting to our MMISchools.com Web site. (OK, that's only two tasks, but it's as much as I can manage simultaneously.) Warlick is telling me, and you, that "For the first time in history, we are preparing our students for a future that we cannot clearly describe." That is to say, the manner in which they will live and work in the future is going to be very different--in ways likely not yet imagined—from the manner in which we live and work now and our parents lived and worked before us. His talk and the rest of the K12 Online Conference will no doubt go on to help educators live up to that challenge. I plan to listen in and participate over the next several weeks.

Check on the K12 Online 07 Conference HERE , and listen to or watch (your choice!) David Warlick's keynote via links from HERE .

—David Hoffman

Ed., MMISchools.com
Ed., Multimedia & Internet @ Schools
Conference Co-chair, Internet @ Schools

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Arts Alliance America Educational Media Offers Educational Version of Award-Winning Documentary "Paper Clips"

Arts Alliance America Educational Media has announced the availability of a newly developed educational version of the award-winning film Paper Clips. Originally released as a feature film, the critically acclaimed documentary has been modified to include materials for use in development of classroom curriculums.
 
The film chronicles an assignment given to students in a small rural community in Tennessee to explore diversity, tolerance, culture, history and love. The DVD includes four standard lesson plans for junior and senior high school students; a pop-up version of the film with facts, footage, and photos to facilitate classroom discussion, and teachers’ guides and student handouts in printable formats.
 
Paper Clips was declared one of the top five documentaries of 2004 by The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. It received the “Audience Award” for Best Documentary at the 2004 Palm Springs International Film Festival, and won “Best Documentary,” “Best Director,” “Best Original Score” and received “The Jury Award” for Best American Documentary at the 2004 Rome International Film Festival.
 
Synopsis of the film: Whitwell is a small rural community of less than 2,000 people nestled in the mountains of Tennessee. Its citizens are almost exclusively white and Christian. In 1998, the children of Whitwell Middle School took on an inspiring project, launched out of their principal's desire to help her students open their eyes to the diversity of the world beyond their insulated valley. What happened would change the students, their teachers, their families and the entire town forever… and eventually open hearts and minds around the world.
 
Paper Clips captures how these students responded to lessons about the Holocaust—with a promise to honor every lost soul by collecting one paper clip for each individual exterminated by the Nazis.
 
Despite the fact that they had previously been unaware of and unfamiliar with the Holocaust, their dedication was absolute. The result, a memorial railcar filled with 11 million paper clips (representing 6 million Jews and 5 million gypsies, homosexuals, and other victims of the Holocaust) which stands permanently in their schoolyard, is an unforgettable lesson of how a committed group of children and educators can change the world one classroom at a time.
 
Paper Clips – The Educationally Enhanced Version DVD is rated G and has a running time of 84 minutes and a suggested retail price of $59.99.
 
Other DVD programs available in Arts Alliance America’s Educational Media Line include Super Size Me – The Educationally Enhanced Version, which includes interactive activities, 24 curriculum lessons; 12 middle school lessons; 12 high school lessons; games, student handout materials, educator’s manual, and more. The DVD is rated PG and has a running time of 100 minutes.
 
Coming in January 2008, On Common Ground , Run Granny Run and Christopher Reeve: Hope In Motion .
 
 
Source: Arts Alliance America Educational Media, www.artsallianceamerica.com

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Free Resources: Media Education Kit Published by UNESCO

“Media Education: A Kit for Teachers, Students, Parents and Professionals” has been published in English and French by UNESCO. The kit is partly a product of the MENTOR project initiated by UNESCO and supported by the European Commission.

Some of the questions addressed by the kit are as follows: What should Media education be like? Who should provide it? How should it be included in a curriculum? Beyond schools, do families have a say in the matter? Can professionals be involved and how? What strategies can the public adopt to deal with the benefits and the limitations of media?

The kit proposes a prototype of media education curriculum for the basic qualification of secondary school teachers, but it also extends its modular approach and key concepts (production, language, representation, public) to adults outside the school system, be they parent, media professional, or decision-maker. In addition to a teachers’ manual and accompanying students’ handbook, the kit contains a manual for parents, a handbook on ethical relations with professionals, and one on Internet literacy.

To extend the pedagogical process of questioning, a Frequently Asked Questions section has been added as well as a glossary of media education terms. The responses provided are meant to introduce the debate and promote dialogue rather than being considered definitive answers. They are not recipes but suggestions for further explorations, both on- and off-line, with many references to documents, materials, and Web sites offered in the final reference section.

Whatever the mode of entry and the viewpoint adopted, the kit takes into account the necessary skills needed to decipher the various types of messages as well as the various stakes relating to citizenship and sustainability, beyond school and family. What matters most is establishing connections between the different actors involved in the process of socializing children and young people. In a development perspective, solid and durable foundations for a large and systematic media education are fundamental to the current needs of shared knowledge societies and cultural diversity.

An English version of the kit in pdf format can be downloaded here: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001492/149278E.pdf.

Source: UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), http://portal.unesco.org/

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Pearson Unveils Update to WriteToLearn

Pearson has unveiled WriteToLearn 4.0 , the newest update of its Web-based learning tool for developing writing and reading comprehension skills. This new release includes more than 200 reading passages from Pearson's Scott Foresman Reading Street reading program. Other updates include enhanced teacher tools, such as increased support for managing class and student rosters. All schools and districts with current WriteToLearn subscriptions will receive the update free of charge.

With WriteToLearn, students practice essay writing and summarization skills, and their efforts are measured by Pearson's Knowledge Analysis Technologies (KAT) engine, which automatically evaluates the meaning of text by examining whole passages.

More information about WriteToLearn is available at www.WriteToLearn.net.

Source: Pearson Education, www.pearsoned.com

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OnlyMyEmail Provides Comprehensive Email Solution for Schools

OnlyMyEmail, creator of the OME-kids.com safe and secure email solution for use from home, has announced it will now customize configuration of OME-kids.com with its corporate solution MX-Defender to create a comprehensive filtering and email security service for school systems and classrooms.

OME-kids.com will enable children to receive the highest-level of security when they use email in school, the announcement states. OnlyMyEmail will then take its corporate MX-Defender solution to provide teachers and administrators with a filtering service.

Using OME-kids.com, teachers can control all of the emails that children in their classroom receive and send via one screen. The screen lists each of the student's name and offer various Teacher Features customizable to teacher specifications, including the following:

· Optional “Lock-Down" mode (most appropriate for very young children) only allows email delivery from senders who have first received teacher approval.
· Optional "Review" saves copies of all email delivered to children's OME-Kids.com addresses.
· Optional "Kids Carbon Copy" sends the teacher copies of all outbound messages sent from children's OME-Kids.com account.
· All blocked messages may be easily released for delivery upon teacher review and approval.

OME-kids.com is designed to ensure that children in classroom are shielded from e-marketers, unwanted spam, and Internet predators, enabling teachers to focus on and introduce fun activities like “e-Pen-Pals” in their classrooms. OME-kids.com also subscribes to a "No Permission-based Marketing Promise," meaning direct marketers will not be able to pay to bypass OME-kids filters, according to the announcement.

OnlyMyEmail will customize configuration for schools and classrooms with 80 users or more.

Source: OnlyMyEmail, www.onlymyemail.com/

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Vantage Learning Launches MY Access! School Edition

Vantage Learning has announced the release of MY Access! School Edition , the latest version of the company's online instructional writing program. The upgraded MY Access! School Edition includes feature enhancements designed to make the program easier to navigate and use in a variety of instructional settings.

The upgraded version features a new capability that detects "text speak," an increasingly popular form of shorthand writing found in text and instant messages. Teachers can now turn on TextSpeak, and flag common text and instant messaging jargon. MY Access! School Edition also gives educators an accurate picture of students' progress with updated reporting, and offers additional ways to customize MY Access! to their students' reading and writing levels.

The Web-based writing environment of MY Access! uses Vantage Learning's IntelliMetric T technology to quickly score student essays, and provide immediate feedback that engages and motivates students, according to the announcement. Students write an essay based on a teacher's assignment, and MY Access! analyzes over 350 semantic, syntactic, and discourse characteristics. It then scores students on focus and meaning; organization; content and development; language use; voice and style; mechanics and conventions; and their overall writing proficiency. MY Access! also provides tutor and editor feedback to assist students in their revision planning, as well as support for English Language Learners.

The latest School Edition version incorporates a number of new and enhanced features, including the following:

-The upgraded MY Editor can now identify and correct TextSpeak. The TextSpeak rule set identifies the most common and inappropriate use of informal, shorthand writing, explains why this style of writing is inappropriate in a formal setting, and suggests appropriate alternatives.
-The expanded prompt library gives educators more than 700 writing topics from which to choose, as well as the ability to add and customize prompts in order to tailor topics to their own classroom and curriculum. A significant number of cross-curricular and non-fiction writing prompts have been added to the system.
-Enhanced reporting features drop-down menus that allow users to access different reports at once.
-A new dashboard greets users upon login, displays messages from students and teachers, and offers immediate account information. Teachers can view student and classroom progress right on their dashboard. For students, the dashboard displays their progress across different categories, such as language use, mechanics, and organization.

Source: Vantage Learning, www.vantagelearning.com

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MIND Research Institute Ships New Algebra Readiness Supplemental Courseware

MIND Research Institute has shipped ST Math : Algebra Readiness Supplemental, a new courseware title that is designed to prepare struggling middle school students for success in algebra. The program expands MIND Research’s line of research-based mathematics courseware for elementary students into the middle school level.

According to the announcement, this supplemental program was developed in response to the national crisis of students failing algebra in middle schools and inspired by the recent call from California for a new core course in Algebra Readiness. ST Math: Algebra Readiness Supplemental supports the Algebra Readiness concept, which covers a tightly focused set of foundational math skills (grades 2 to 7 content) to help students below grade level get fully prepared to succeed in Algebra I.

ST Math: Algebra Readiness Supplemental, for students requiring math intervention in grades 6 and above, applies MIND Research’s Spatial Temporal (ST) computer exercises to help meet this need. The courseware provides a visual learning path for pre-algebra skills from a basic level of math principles up through introductory algebraic equations. The program can be used to either prepare students before they enter an Algebra I class, or as an intervention to help students already struggling with algebra. The program was developed by MIND Research co-founder Dr. Matthew Peterson, the neuroscientist who created the original ST Math program and whose research has focused on applications of neuroscience to learning environments.

ST Math: Algebra Readiness Supplemental is organized into modules that enable students to learn and practice major concepts such as the number line, variables, place value, rates and ratios, long division, fractions, decimals, negative numbers, word problems, the coordinate plane, equations of a line, and exponents. The content is mapped to both national and state standards.

The program helps each student build this arithmetic foundation through language-independent visualization of math concepts that facilitates both self-paced instruction and solid understanding and retention of concepts. The game metaphor of the instructional activities engages students regardless of initial math proficiency, and provides a gradual increase in problem difficulty, from simple confidence-inspiring levels up to challenging multi-step problem-solving. Students progress at their own rate, advancing to the next level or game only after they master each skill.

For information about ST Math: Algebra Readiness Supplemental, educators can visit www.mindinstitute.net.

Source: MIND Research Institute, www.mindinstitute.net

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GenevaLogic Foundation Announces GenevaLogic Visionary Grants.

The GenevaLogic Foundation has announced the debut of the GenevaLogic Visionary Grants. Four GenevaLogic Visionary Grants, designed to recognize teachers who have an innovative vision of the ways that instructional technology powered by Vision classroom management software can improve teaching and learning, will be awarded in January 2008.

Successful applicants are eligible to receive either a Vision Class Kit or a Vision School Kit. In addition, all grantees will also receive a personal membership in the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which includes many valuable benefits. The total value of the grants is more than $10,000. Applications are available at <http://www.GenevaLogicFoundation.org>.

K-12 educators, including classroom teachers, school librarians and technology specialists, are eligible to apply for the Vision Class Kit grants. To apply, teachers need to download a free 30-day trial of Vision from the GenevaLogic Web site and use it to teach with technology in the classroom, library media center, or computer lab. Then applicants will submit a brief essay on how the classroom management software enhanced the way they teach with technology and how they would benefit from having the Vision Class Kit to use with their students.

A special panel of ISTE members will judge the essays for their descriptions of visionary uses of technology, the depth of their commitment to using classroom management software and demonstration of need for a GenevaLogic Visionary Grant.

In addition to Vision, the Vision Class Kit includes two plug-ins, App-Control and Surf·Lock2, plus the Vision Teach-Pad, which gives teachers push-button control of all classroom computers. App-Control allows teachers to remotely launch applications, share documents and manage access to applications on all student computers. Using Surf·Lock2, teachers turn browsing on or off from their computer with a single click, allow students access only to selected Web sites that support instruction, and stop or limit Web browsing instantly for a single student or the entire class.

With the Vision School Kit, an entire school is equipped to manage classroom computer activity, guide student learning on computers and teach with technology. The Vision School Kit includes school-wide licenses for Vision, three Vision Teach-Pads, App-Control, SurfLock2, and Pointer, a plug-in that allows teachers to annotate text or graphics on the computer while teaching. Teacher training materials are also included in this package.

The deadline for applying for the GenevaLogic Visionary Grants is Dec. 28, 2007. The recipients will be announced in January 2008, and grantees will be recognized by the GenevaLogic Foundation and ISTE at a special reception at the 2008 National Educational Computing Conference, June 29-July 2, 2008, in San Antonio.

Source: GenevaLogic, www.genevalogic.com

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Facts On File Adds Videos, Color Diagrams, New Content to Science Online

Facts On File has announced the introduction of videos to Science Online, along with color diagrams, experiments, photographs, and essays.

More than 280 new videos have been added, covering a range of scientific topics in an entertaining and accessible way. Teachers, students, and researchers will find these videos helpful in exploring the basic principles of scientific inquiry, seeing what nuclear reactions and black holes look like, viewing clips of interviews with the inventors of the first computers, and more, the announcement states.

Each video is accompanied by a detail page that includes a brief description of the material in the clip, the running time, links to related videos, and suggested searches.

Videos are searchable and appear in the “Images, Videos & Animations” tab as well as the “All Results” tab. A new “Videos and Animations” link has been added to the home page under the “Browse Science Resources” head.

Videos are also browsable alphabetically or by using the “View by Subject” drop-down box. Alternatively, visit the “Explore Subject” pages to view videos organized by subject.

More than 550 newly colored diagrams and more than 400 photographs and illustrations have been added. The photographs and illustrations have also been embedded into essays across a wide variety of scientific disciplines enabling users to better visualize ideas and processes.

New essays have been added from a variety of subjects, including space and astronomy, botany, marine biology, and biotechnology. Many essays include accompanying images that can be enlarged and opened with a caption, as well as links to related articles and experiments, suggested searches, citation information, and persistent “Record URL” links.

Source: Facts on File, www.factsonfile.com

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New Look and Tools on Merriam-Webster's Word Central Site for Kids

The ever-alert ResourceShelf folks posted this today, based in material from Merriam-Webster:

Merriam-Webster’s Word Central for kids has been visually reprogrammed and upgraded with exciting new content! …

 Of course there's more. Click HERE for the ResourceShelf posting, then link to Merriam-Webster's Word Central to explore … and have fun.

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CTB/McGraw-Hill Launches Enhancements to Writing Roadmap 2.0

CTB/McGraw-Hill has announced the release of new enhancements to Writing Roadmap 2.0, its Web-based classroom writing assessment. With the enhancements, teachers now will have the option to create custom writing topics or choose from supplied writing prompts, both of which can be analyzed and graded automatically by the program.

Writing Roadmap 2.0 is an online essay scoring system using predictive artificial intelligence to assess the writing skills of students in grades 3-12. It is an all-in-one tool that streamlines writing instruction and assessment, delivers feedback instantly, and saves teachers as much as 100 hours of valuable grading time per year, according to the announcement.

The enhanced Writing Roadmap 2.0 also includes a secure lock-down browser and improvements that make it compliant with Section 508 for users who are visually- and/or hearing-impaired.

Writing Roadmap 2.0 covers a range of essay styles including descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and informative/expository. The application contains online tools—Tutor, Hint, Grammar Tree, and Thesaurus—to provide students with feedback as they go, while automatically generated scores enable the students to make immediate revisions. Essays are evaluated along six writing dimensions—Ideas and Content, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Conventions, and Fluency. Graphic online reports provide an analytic roadmap to guide future instruction and move students toward the goal of achieving state standards for writing.

For more information, visit CTB.com/WritingRoadmap.

Source: CTB/McGraw-Hill, CTB.com

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HOSTS Learning Announces IntelliPath Instructional Management System

HOSTS Learning has announced the launch of IntelliPath, a customizable instructional management tool that enables educators to create in-depth, individual learning paths for students by combining assessment results, standards-aligned instruction, lesson planning, educational content, and reporting into one comprehensive system.

IntelliPath’s power lies in the generation of individual learning paths for accelerated improvement, the announcement states. First, assessment data from various sources – formative assessments, state tests, and norm-referenced tests – are imported into the system. Next, IntelliPath uses that data to identify curriculum gaps, align a school’s existing instructional resources with each targeted learning need, and make recommendations for optimal, personalized instruction. More than 50,000 potential core and supplemental curriculum and learning resources are part of the IntelliPath system, including basal texts, supplemental resources, software, and customized district or school curriculums.

The system delivers just-in-time information in a variety of customizable reports so that administrators, teachers, and parents can manage students’ learning needs in the classroom or in prescribed one-on-one mentoring sessions. The reports can track day-to-day mastery of state standards performance at the district, school, class, group, and individual student levels, performance on specific assessments and progress checks, and historical performance on standards and objectives.

The IntelliPath implementation supports an onsite and online professional development component as well. Teachers are given customized modules that address five core competencies required to ensure individual student and school-wide success: instructional leadership, data-driven decision making, implementation of best practices, differentiating instruction, and strategies for supporting struggling learners.

To learn more about IntelliPath or HOSTS Learning, go to www.hosts.com.

Source: HOSTS Learning, www.hosts.com

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Free Resources: ABC-CLIO's "History and the Headlines—Sputnik Escalates the Cold War"

The next featured topic in ABC-CLIO's series of free online history resources, "History and the Headlines: Sputnik Escalates the Cold War," is now available. The materials enable educators to give students an in-depth look at the impact that the launch of Sputnik had on the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and how it helped to escalate the Cold War arms race.

Developed in partnership with The History Channel and National History Day, the site includes primary sources, video clips, expert analysis, and engaging activities to help students explore the conflict that held the world in its grip for nearly 50 years. The free collection will be available until Dec. 1, 2007.

Five engaging video clips from The History Channel offer students glimpses of major milestones of the space race, including Sputnik I, Gagarin's flight, and the moon landing. Then students can explore the Cold War in detail with online access to ABC-CLIO's five-volume Encyclopedia of the Cold War: A Political, Social, and Military History, edited by Spencer C. Tucker, Ph.D., and Priscilla Mary Roberts, Ph.D.

The encyclopedia includes detailed essays on the Cold War, nearly 1,300 reference entries, and an extensive chronology, offering students a resource for examining these historic events from many different perspectives. In addition, more than 450 images, documents and maps provide insight into the people, places and events of the Cold War.

The site's "Point of View" section features essays from leading scholars discussing how both the United States and the Soviet Union reacted to the launch of Sputnik.

In addition, three classroom activities developed by National History Day will help history teachers guide their students as they use the primary sources available from "History and the Headlines" to think critically about these landmark events and how they changed the world. The classroom activities focus on the American reaction to the Sputnik launch and how the Soviet Union capitalized on the public relations value of being the first country to enter space.

To visit "History and the Headlines: Sputnik Escalates the Cold War," go to www.historyandtheheadlines.abc-clio.com/ColdWar.

Other topics that ABC-CLIO will feature in upcoming "History and the Headlines" include "American Indian Heritage Month: Commemoration vs. Exploitation" (available Oct. 25) and "Darfur Now," marking the release of the documentary of the same name, narrated by actor Don Cheadle (available Nov. 2). To sign up to receive information about future topics in "History and the Headlines," visit www.abc-clio.com/historyandtheheadlines.

Source: ABC-CLIO Schools, www.abc-clio.com

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Pearson Integrates Science Textbooks With Web-Based Reading Comprehension and Writing Tool

Pearson has announced the integration of Summary Street, its Web-based reading comprehension and writing instruction tool, with the company's Scott Foresman's Science 2008 textbook series , enabling students in grades 4-6 to build reading comprehension skills while learning science. After reading lessons from the science textbooks, students will use Summary Street to write summaries in their own words and receive immediate feedback. With Summary Street, students develop a skill that good readers naturally possess - the ability to summarize what they read, the announcement states.

Summary Street evaluates student summaries using Pearson's Knowledge Analysis Technologies (KAT) engine, which automatically evaluates the meaning of text by examining whole passages. It measures student writing by comparing it with the actual content of the Scott Foresman science lesson and provides feedback on how well students have captured the main ideas in their summaries.

For more information, visit http://godigital.scottforesman.com/science/summarystreet.

Source: Pearson Education, www.pearsoned.com

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