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January 22, 2008

Table of Contents

Free Resources: NOAA /NOS Discovery Kits
ProQuest Adds Multimedia Resources to CultureGrams Online
Free Princeton Review Test Prep in Second Life
Free Resources: Links to Online Resources About 2008 ALA Award Winners from
ISTE Publishes New Book on Project-Based Learning
Cool Links: 'Google Generation' is a myth, says new research
World Book Asks Students, Educators, and Parents to Vote for Best Video about Finding Trustworthy Information Onlin
NOAA Accepting Grant Applications for K-12 Environmental Literacy Projects
Discovery Education Announces New Elementary Science Resource
SirsiDynix Releases Horizon 7.4.1
ITI Crosslinks: We Find It All: Wikia's New Social Search Engine
ABC-CLIO Launches Release 2.0 of Online Databases for Schools, Libraries
ITI Cross Links: Digication Adds e-Textbooks to e-Portfolios
NSTA Releases Technology-Based Teaching Resource for Middle and High School Science Teachers
Facts On File Launches Redesign of Health Reference Center

Free Resources: NOAA /NOS Discovery Kits

From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service (NOS) Website:

Discovery Kits describe the basic scientific principles underlying the applied science and activities of NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS). Designed for educators and students at the high school level, they are written in non-technical language, and focus on the themes of oceans, coasts, and charting and navigation. …

A quick look turned up Discovery Kits on corals, currents, estuaries, and more.

Click HERE to jump to the NOS page on their Discovery Kits.

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ProQuest Adds Multimedia Resources to CultureGrams Online

ProQuest is adding streaming video and slideshows to CultureGrams Online. The new CultureGrams multimedia resources include 45 videos covering 12 countries and 71 slideshows covering 13 countries. Additional multimedia on other countries will be added throughout the year.

The material features 2-5 minute video clips and slideshows of 10-15 images not contained in the CultureGrams photo gallery. Included are images, interviews, and sounds that focus on daily life in countries around the world.

The new content covers American Samoa, Belgium, Egypt, Fiji, France, Ireland, Italy, Mali, Morocco, the Netherlands, Samoa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Vanuatu.

CultureGrams provides an insider’s perspective on daily life and culture, including the history, customs, and lifestyles of the world’s people. The CultureGrams reports cover more than 200 countries, the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and Canadian provinces. In addition, CultureGrams provides images, maps, flags, bios, statistics, and a recipe collection with five authentic recipes for every country in the database.


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Free Princeton Review Test Prep in Second Life

The Princeton Review holds free SAT Strategy Session events in the virtual world of Second Life on Jan. 19 and Jan. 31.

The Second Life sessions are the company’s first step into the virtual world to help students learn more about the SAT. Second Life is an online world where users can create a virtual likeness (an avatar) and interact with users from around the world.

The Princeton Review teamed up with Ohio University for the Second Life event. The SAT sessions will take place in a special event tent on Ohio University's Second Life Virtual Campus. Information kiosks will be set up around the Second Life world where avatars can accumulate free virtual collectibles, information about The Princeton Review, and event dates.

To participate, avatars can travel around the Second Life world and to the SAT event tent in free virtual Princeton Review roadsters.

The Second Life SAT strategy sessions are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. eastern time and Thursday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. eastern time. Each event will include a 15-20 minute presentation followed by a question and answer session and will feature two Princeton Review teachers in virtual form.

Information about the SAT (including test dates and content, sample questions and answers) and general information about the SAT, ACT, and the college admissions process will be covered.

The virtual SAT strategy sessions at Ohio University’s Second Life Virtual Campus can be found at The campus also can be located by searching for Ohio University in Second Life (

The Princeton Review,  

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Free Resources: Links to Online Resources About 2008 ALA Award Winners from

To help celebrate the recently announced ALA Awards (Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, and others), has announced it is offering free access to a great batch of original short movies and readings by the award winners.


These links let you "meet" these award-winning authors today. The selected interviews, discussion guides, book readings, and audio files of authors pronouncing their names help readers relate to the author and award-winning books in memorable, personal ways, according to the announcement.


To meet winners of the 2008 medal and honor books announced Monday, Jan. 14, by the American Library Association, has created and assembled dozens of multimedia, online materials with these authors. Follow this link to access them.


Among the resources:

* Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz . . .

Tells why she wrote these medieval dramatic monologues and reads from her winning book, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village .

* Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick . . .

Reads the first chapter of The Invention of Hugo Cabret while walking us through his award-winning pictures.

* Coretta Scott King Author Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis . . .

Shares in an original movie how and why he wrote his prize-winning book Elijah of Buxton .

* Sibert Medalist & Caldecott Honoree Peter Sís . . .

Reveals the historical context of his award-winning book The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain in this brief movie he and his brother made combining book illustrations with powerful footage from Communist Czechoslovakia.



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ISTE Publishes New Book on Project-Based Learning

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has announced the publication of Reinventing Project Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age. The new book offers educators a practical guide for maximizing the benefits of project-based learning in today’s technology-rich learning environment.


Reinventing Project Based Learning is intended for K-12 teachers, professional developers, technology coordinators, library media specialists, instructional leaders, preservice education students, and faculty who want to transform learning into a more active, student-driven experience, using technology tools for inquiry, collaboration, and connection to the world beyond the classroom.


With strategies, illustrations, classroom examples, and teacher interviews from around the world, the book shows how to design authentic projects that make the most of available and emerging tools and technologies.


Written by Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss, it features a guided process for designing and implementing effective projects; collaborative activities in each chapter; and a focus on the essential learning functions of digital tools, the Internet, and Web 2.0.


Reinventing Project Based Learning may be purchased online for $24.45 for ISTE members or $34.95 for nonmembers. More information about the book, including ordering information, table of contents, and chapter excerpts, is available at


Source: International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE),

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Cool Links: 'Google Generation' is a myth, says new research

From our friends at ResourceShelf comes a description and pointers to a British Library/JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) report, "Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future." From the ResourceShelf (and JISC) posting:

A new report, commissioned by JISC and the British Library, counters the common assumption that the ‘Google Generation’ – young people born or brought up in the Internet age – is the most adept at using the web. The report by the CIBER research team at University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an ease and familiarity with computers, they rely on the most basic search tools and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to asses the information that they find on the web.

Further, this commentary from ResourceShelf: "This report shows the many roles the info professional can and needs to play in an age when many think all answers are only one-click away. Btw, Google is a name grabber but this paper is more about online and web info in general."

Click HERE to link to the full ResourceShelf posting with links to JISC and the actual report.

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World Book Asks Students, Educators, and Parents to Vote for Best Video about Finding Trustworthy Information Onlin

Last semester, the World Book Fact of Fiction? Student Video Contest invited elementary, high school, and college students to create their own original video on what makes an online site a good source of information.  Now, World Book is asking students, educators, and parents to select the best videos from a group of finalists. 

Online viewing and voting for best student-submitted videos is open through January 31, 2008, on the World Book site (, allowing students, parents, teachers, librarians, and other educators to vote for the student video they believe best portrays the importance of finding reliable information online.

Student finalists in each category (K-8) and (9-college) with the most votes will receive a MacBook and their school a digital video camera.  First- and second-place runner ups in each category will receive video iPods.

Source: World Book, Inc.,

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NOAA Accepting Grant Applications for K-12 Environmental Literacy Projects

The Office of Education at NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is now accepting applications for environmental literacy projects to promote changes in K-12 education in effort to expand the amount of Earth system science taught in the classroom and improve student learning of the subject. In total, approximately $4 million in grants will be awarded.

Projects should be designed to increase knowledge of scientific phenomena and provide opportunities for the application of that knowledge to environmental issues relevant to the students. Projects may incorporate NOAA data, data visualizations, and resources and to further the use of Earth System Science concepts related to NOAA's mission goals.

Pre-proposals are required and are due Wednesday, Feb. 20. Full proposals are due Wednesday, June 25. Please visit for the full announcement and additional information. This funding opportunity is located on with the ID number of SEC-OED-2009-2001282.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

Source: NOAA,

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Discovery Education Announces New Elementary Science Resource

Discovery Education has announced Science for Elementary , a new digital service from the creators of Discovery Education streaming . The new service is designed to empower educators to engage student minds with science while reinforcing important literacy and mathematics skills, according to the announcement.

Discovery Education Science for Elementary is an extension of the Discovery Education Science for Middle School, which was launched in 2007. Together, these two products offer a digital solution for educators seeking to improve student achievement in the sciences.

The program is organized into four areas—Learn, Explore, Demonstrate, and Extend. In the Learn area, teachers introduce scientific concepts through reading passages and ebooks, inquiry-based introductions with audio support, and video segments. Addressing multiple learning styles, these resources support literacy instruction across curriculum.

In the Explore area, educators and students can work together like real scientists through a number of virtual labs and inquiry-based explorations of topics within a unit. By making hypotheses and experimenting with changing variables, students learn to interpret data, draw conclusions supported by data, and practice important mathematical skills.

The Demonstrate area lets students show their understanding of key concepts through two types of assessments. Students can show knowledge through online selected response assessments, which enable educators to quickly identify student progress, or teachers can print a Brief Constructed Response for students to complete.

The Extend area encourages additional learning and exploration by enabling students to access middle-school-level resources on particular topics. The Extend area also lets students see connections between concepts by exploring concepts that relate to each other.

For more information on Discovery Education Science for Elementary, visit

Source: Discovery Education,

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SirsiDynix Releases Horizon 7.4.1

SirsiDynix released SirsiDynix Horizion 7.4.1, as well as Horizon Information Portal (HIP) 3.09 and 4.13 for North American sites.

New features of Horizon 7.4.1 include:

-Support for Microsoft Vista.
-Updates to the ACS SIP2 client.
-Ability to print new Waiver and Transit receipts and create pre-overdue notices.
-Ability to track In Transit items and print locally unique transaction i.d. on payment receipts.
-Updates to MARCIN, MARCOUT, BIMPORT utilities.
-Ability for staff to determine if expiration date should change when changing location or BTYPE.
-Ability to obscure certain borrower information on patron receipts, instead of entire barcode.
-Ability to automatically limit Borrower Search limit to specific groups of agencies.
-Check In Hold Fill Screen displays the true notice method (email or print); does not default to print.

The key enhancements to HIP 3.09/4.13 include:

-Ability to connect to Horizon 7.4.1.
-Upgrade to Firebird version 2.03; install included for Windows (98-XP) and for Linux, Solaris SPARC and Solaris X86 platforms.
-Upgrade to Jetty; HIP 3.09 is delivered with Jetty 4.2.19, an upgrade that has resolved many security issues reported with version 4.2.9.
-Enhancements for Syndetic Solutions enriched content, which shows authors in tables of contents.
-Enhancements for My Account, Items Out, My List, ISBN searches and recording requests in HIP and Horizon.


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ITI Crosslinks: We Find It All: Wikia's New Social Search Engine

Wikia, Inc. , the for-profit cousin of the Wikimedia Foundation, launched the alpha release of its new search engine, Search Wikia , on January 7. Search Wikia is branded as a "social" search engine, significantly different from the big names in search, such as Google and Wikia is hoping that the open and participatory model will make Search Wikia the place to go for search results of higher quality.


Click HERE to read the full story, with links to Wikia, Inc., and Search Wikia, on Information Today, Inc.’s NewsBreaks.



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ABC-CLIO Launches Release 2.0 of Online Databases for Schools, Libraries

At the American Library Association's 2008 Midwinter Meeting, ABC-CLIO has announced the launch of release 2.0 of its eight online history, issues, and geography databases. Enhancements to the new versions of these databases include an "Analyze" section that helps students examine key dilemmas in history, grapple with issues, and build historical inquiry skills. The eight online databases have a common interface, cross-database searching capabilities, and a new filtered search option for refining searches. Developed in collaboration with leading historians, librarians, and educators, these resources are targeted to middle and high school students served by school and public libraries.

The eight online databases all include the new "Analyze" section that helps students examine key dilemmas in history and modern issues, presents multiple viewpoints or interpretations from respected academics, and provides study questions to help students think about the issues from differing perspectives. With the databases' new common interface, students and faculty will find the same easy-to-use features and functionality no matter what collection they are using. Also, students and educators can now search for resources across all of the databases to which they subscribe, rather than being limited to one at a time. The redesigned results page tells them from which databases their results came. They can also use the advanced search option to find resources by place, time/era, broad subject and entry category. The new filtered search option allows students to quickly narrow or broaden a search results list.

Highlights of the eight ABC-CLIO online databases include:

*  American History: covers American history from 1350 to the present with 15,000 primary and secondary sources.

*  American Government: comprehensive coverage of the three branches of government, rights and liberties, and local, state and national government systems with nearly 12,000 primary and secondary sources including 1,000 documents, 4,000 images, 200 maps, and 200 audio/video recordings.

*  World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras: coverage from the dawn of prehistory and the great ancient empires to the beginning of the Renaissance with more than 6,600 primary and secondary resources, 1,200 biographies of important figures and 70 in-depth topic explorations of time periods.

*  World History: The Modern Era: in-depth coverage of world history from 1500 to the present, aligned with curriculum guidelines, using over 14,000 primary and secondary sources, 76 explorations of eras and more than 3,500 biographies.

*  World Geography: Understanding a Changing World: 15,000 primary and secondary sources with almost 500 maps and 200 country overviews as well as 1,500 biographies and expanded cultural content, including new sections on ethnicity, language, religion, traditions and etiquette, and the arts.

*  United States Geography: visual overviews of all 50 states and nearly 10,000 primary and secondary sources, state flags, and seals, 2,600 images and 150 maps as well as Clioview, an online statistical tool that allows students to compare state data.

*  United States at War: Understanding Conflict and Society: complete overviews of 14 U.S.-fought wars, over 4,000 authoritative reference entries and over 7,500 primary sources.

*  Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society: coverage of 150 of the most studied controversial issues with new issues added each year, including 11,000 diverse entries from scholars and researchers and thousands of images and multimedia files. Eleven thousand diverse entries provide background and context for today's most pressing debates. They include 300 comprehensive essays, 1,000 documents and more than 2,000 reference entries.

Pricing for ABC-CLIO's online databases ranges from $399 to $599 per school site for an individual database, with special package pricing for multi-database subscriptions. Multi-site and multi-year discounts are also available. For more information, visit

Source: ABC-CLIO,

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ITI Cross Links: Digication Adds e-Textbooks to e-Portfolios

We’ve covered Digication’s collaboration tools in news announcements and a feature (Collaboration in Today’s Classrooms: New Web Tools Change the Game) here at Our sister publication/Website EContent picked up this further news recently:


Digication Inc., a provider of e-Portfolios, announced that it has partnered with Davis Publications, a provider of art education textbooks, to combine e-Portfolios and Web 2.0 technologies with the content found in traditional textbooks.


Click HERE to "crosslink" to the full announcement at

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NSTA Releases Technology-Based Teaching Resource for Middle and High School Science Teachers

The National Science Teachers Association has released a new book, Technology in the Secondary Science Classroom. NSTA's new title is intended to “open your mind to technology's potential,” according to the announcement.

The featured technologies in the book range from the easy to master, such as digital cameras, to the more complex, like probeware and geographic information systems. Each chapter includes a summary of current research on technology's effectiveness in the classroom; best practice guidelines drawn from research and practitioner literature; and innovative ideas for teaching with the particular technology.

Technology in the Secondary Science Classroom offers new concepts for technology-based teaching strategies to stimulate teachers’ thinking while deepening their students' engagement in science. The book was written by a collaboration of science teachers and educators and reviewed by over 200 teachers before publication. The book was developed with funds from NSF grant #0540041.

Randy L. Bell is an associate professor of science education in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. A former middle and high school science teacher, he has been recognized as the National Association for Research in Science Teaching's Early Career Researcher of the Year. Julie Gess-Newsome is the J. Lawrence Walkup Distinguished Professor of Science Education at Northern Arizona University and director of NAU's Center for Science Teaching and Learning. She previously taught high school biology and general science for eight years. Julie Luft, a professor of science education at Arizona State University-Tempe, was also a middle and high school life sciences and physical science teacher.

As with most NSTA Press titles, you can browse sample pages of this new title free at the NSTA Science Store Website at

For additional information or to purchase Technology in the Secondary Science Classroom and other books from NSTA Press, visit the NSTA Science Store at The 125-page book is priced at $24.96 and discount-priced for NSTA members at $19.96.

Source: National Science Teachers Association,

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Facts On File Launches Redesign of Health Reference Center

Facts On File has announced the launch of the redesigned and updated Health Reference Center database. This redesign offers a new interface, greater functionality, new special features, a significant amount of new content, and more.

Among the enhancements are:

·                    A new interface—The home page has been redesigned to be more visually appealing as well as to offer faster, more direct access to the database’s content by bringing forward content areas of interest to high school students and the general public.

·                    New images and videos—More than 560 educational videos on a wide range of health topics have been added, along with more than 460 new images. The videos, which are searchable and browsable, include captions that provide users with contextual information.

·                    News articles—The new “Health in the News” section features regularly updated health news articles, as well as an archive of past headlines, separated by topic for easy browsing.

·                    Comprehensive subject and health center guides—The newly developed “Explore Subjects” and “Health Centers” sections bring forward broad and inclusive information on issues important to schools and public library users. Content is organized into five subjects: Body Systems, Conditions and Diseases, Drug Abuse and Addiction, Mental Health and Developmental Disorders, and Nutrition and Wellness. Special Health Centers call out articles focusing on health topics affecting four demographic groups: women, men, children, and seniors.

·                    New content—Hundreds of new entries have been added from Facts On File’s and Chelsea House’s print titles, covering key areas such as addiction, learning disabilities, adoption, sports medicine, stress-related diseases, and more.

·                    A more effective search results page—Search results are now organized using a new tabbed interface, are listed by relevancy, and display record type (such as “All Results,” “Topics,” “Images and Videos,” “News Articles,” “Organizations,” and more).

·                    Improved search and browse tools—Search terms are now highlighted, making it easy for users to narrow in on specific terms within an entry. Editorially picked related links, extensive in-text hyperlinks, and suggested searches guide further research. A persistent record link at the end of each page allows users to share records.

·                    Special features:

-                      “Editor’s Feature of the Month” highlighting a timely topic

-                      Searchable and browsable sections with detailed information on medical tests, drugs, and organizations

-                      Clickable food pyramid

-                      BMI calculator

-                      Listing of various hotlines to help students struggling with a wide range of issues from depression and suicide to rape and domestic violence.

Source: Fact on File,

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