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February 19, 2008

Table of Contents

GenevaLogic Visionary Grants Awarded
SMART Launches the SMART Document Camera
Google Announces Doodle 4 Google Competition and Prize
Innovative Learning Conference 2008 Seeks Speakers
Elluminate Releases Open-Source Integration to Bring Real-Time Collaboration Tools to Moodle Users
Learning.com Launches Curriculum to Teach Online Safety and Communication Skills
Califone Introduces AV Tutor and Digital Cartridge Programs to Help Develop Core Reading Skills
PBS TeacherLine Introduces Courses to Help Teachers Support English Language Learners in the Classroom
Inspiration Launches Kidspiration 3
H.W. Wilson Adds Biography Index Retrospective: 1946-1983 to WilsonWeb

GenevaLogic Visionary Grants Awarded

The first GenevaLogic Visionary Grants were awarded by the GenevaLogic Foundation in late January.

The individual grant recipients are Margie Maier, teacher, RCSD Highlands Elementary Campus in Renton, WA and Cyndi Bruce, librarian, Sabine High School in Gladewater, TX.

Vision School Kit grants were awarded to Murrieta Valley High School in Murrieta, CA and Wellsville High School in Wellsville, NY.

The four grantees receive either a Vision Class Kit or a Vision School Kit. In addition, each receives a personal membership in ISTE and discounted registration for ISTE’s National Educational Computing Conference (NECC). The total value of the four grants is more than $10,000.

The GenevaLogic Visionary Grants were designed to recognize teachers using instructional technology powered by Vision classroom management software in innovative ways.

To select the winners, nearly 150 essays were judged by a panel of members of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The applicants were considered in terms of their descriptions of visionary uses of technology, the depth of their commitment to using classroom management software, and demonstration of need.

Grant applicants used Vision software to teach with technology for 30 days. Afterward, they submitted a brief essay on how the classroom management software enhanced their teaching and how they would benefit from using Vision every day with their students.

Essays from the four successful grant applications and the top 20 finalists are posted on the GenevaLogic web site.

GenevaLogic, www.genevalogic.com.  

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SMART Launches the SMART Document Camera

The SMART document camera enables teachers to display detailed images and video of any physical object and instantly incorporate that material into digital lessons using the SMART Board interactive whiteboard and Notebook collaborative learning software.

The SMART document camera enables users to zoom in or out on an image, write over images, and capture still images directly into Notebook software or any software application.

For presentations, users can interact with objects placed under the document camera. A student presenter could dissect a frog for the entire class to see and capture the project as an image or video to add to a Notebook file on frog dissection. The teacher could then use the interactive whiteboard to access a web site and review additional information about dissection, adding it to the Notebook file.

The features of the SMART document camera include Notebook software integration, a straightforward control panel, automatic focus and brightness control, optical and digital zoom, a removable tablet stage, rotating head, SD memory card slot, and lightweight body with a cable lock.

The SMART document camera begins shipping in spring 2008 at a suggested education price of $849.

SMART Technologies, www.smarttech.com.  

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Google Announces Doodle 4 Google Competition and Prize

Google has announced the launch of "Doodle 4 Google," a competition that invites school children to design a Google logo inspired by the question, "What If...?" The winning student's doodle will be displayed on the Google homepage on May 22, 2008; the champion "doodler" will also win a $10,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for his/her school.

 

The "Doodle 4 Google" competition is open to K-12 students in the U.S. Participating classrooms can use accompanying lesson plans to help guide students, while also integrating the project into classroom learning. Suggested questions will help students start dreaming and doodling: "What if...I could see into the future? What if....I could build any kind of invention I wanted?"

 

Students' doodles will be judged on artistic merit, creativity, representation of the theme, and other criteria. A panel of independent judges and Google employees will select the top doodles across age groups, from which the public will help select the final four. The grand prize winner will then be selected by Google and announced at an event hosted at Google's headquarters on May 21, 2008. The doodle will be displayed on the Google homepage the following day.

 

The customization of the Google logo started in 1999, and these "doodles" are now designed almost exclusively by Google Webmaster Dennis Hwang, whose work is seen by millions every time he exhibits on the Google homepage. Dennis has creatively depicted worldwide events, anniversaries, and holidays with doodles that incorporate the Google logo for the world of users to celebrate.

 

Teachers can register their class online by going to www.google.com/doodle4google. Registration closes on March 28 and all entries must be postmarked by April 12, 2008.

 

Further information, competition details, videos, and past doodles are also available at www.google.com/doodle4google.

 

Source: Google, www.google.com/corporate/

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Innovative Learning Conference 2008 Seeks Speakers

The Innovative Learning Conference, presented by CUE and FETC, issued a call for speakers for the Innovative Learning Conference 2008 (ILC 2008) taking place Oct. 14 – 16, 2008 in San Jose, CA.

Speakers are encouraged to share successful classroom practices, creative teaching and learning solutions, research, and policies and products that show current or future promise for K-12 education.

ILC 2008 will feature hands-on workshops, concurrent sessions, meetings and exhibitions for teachers, principals, district administrators, curriculum designers, media specialists, technology directors, and other educators.

Applications to present are sought from education professionals representing all levels, content areas, and specialties. The presentations will be scheduled for 55-minute sessions throughout the three-day conference.

The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2008. Submission guidelines and an electronic application form can be found at http://www.1105info.com/t.do?id=881403:7009156.  

ILC, www.1105info.com.  

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Elluminate Releases Open-Source Integration to Bring Real-Time Collaboration Tools to Moodle Users

Elluminate, Inc. , a provider of live elearning and web collaboration tools, has announced the release of Elluminate Bridge for Moodle, which integrates the Elluminate Live! virtual classroom environment with the Moodle open-source course management system. The company is working with Moodle partners Remote-Learner.net and Open Knowledge Technologies to provide the integration.

 

Elluminate Bridge for Moodle enables academic institutions using Moodle open-source technology to easily add synchronous distance learning and collaboration into coursework. Instructors can schedule, deliver, and record classes using Elluminate Live! – an Internet-based, real-time elearning tool that includes voice over the Internet, shared whiteboards, chat, breakout rooms, application sharing, import capabilities with PowerPoint presentation software, and more.

 

Available now, the open-source Elluminate Bridge for Moodle connects to any current or new Elluminate Live! account hosted by Elluminate or installed on the customer’s servers. In addition, because the Moodle integration is built using the Elluminate Bridge Toolkit, it can connect to Elluminate Live! in combination with one or more other CMS, LMS, or campus directory integrations, such as Blackboard or Active Directory. For more information, visit http://www.elluminate.com/moodle_course_management_system.jsp.

 

In addition, Elluminate is offering any K-12 academic institution free, unlimited access of Elluminate Live! Lite Edition for one year. The product, which features full-duplex audio, shared whiteboard, public/private chat, math symbol library, graphing calculator, and advanced moderator tools, adds live interaction and collaboration to coursework and can be easily upgraded to the full functionality of Elluminate Live! Academic Edition. Elluminate Bridge for Moodle is included in the free offer. For more information, visit http://www.elluminate.com/k12.

 

Source: Elluminate, Inc., www.elluminate.com

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Learning.com Launches Curriculum to Teach Online Safety and Communication Skills

Learning.com has announced the launch of Communicating Online, a new unit within EasyTech, its Web-delivered technology literacy curriculum. The new unit’s lessons and activities help middle school students learn how to use today’s online communication tools while developing their communication and collaboration skills.

 

The Communicating Online unit directly addresses issues of online safety and develops students’ digital citizenship and information fluency, including how to evaluate, analyze, and ethically use information. The unit covers:

• Instant messaging

• Blogs

• Podcasts

• Community sites

• Mapping technology

• Information validity

• Internet safety

• Ethical use of information

 

Because EasyTech is Web-delivered, Learning.com’s customers automatically and immediately have access to this new content, allowing teachers to immediately incorporate this new curriculum into their instructional planning.

 

As with all EasyTech content, the unit features a digital coach that guides and encourages students. In this unit, Lukas, a guitar-wielding musician, takes students across the globe to internationally acclaimed music festivals. Along the way he creates a blog and podcasts, and learns about global mapping tools to learn about where he is and help him navigate to his next destination. Students work with Lukas to perform the skills they are learning within engaging language arts, math, science, and social studies curriculum.

 

This unit also helps students strengthen their skills in listening, researching, critical analysis, global awareness, problem-solving, and creativity, as they work within EasyTech’s safe environment to create their own projects.

 

EasyTech is built upon a research foundation that integrates what is understood about how students learn within technology-delivered curriculum. Its self-paced, interactive tutorials engage students in creating activities that are relevant to them. Its smart instructional design, coupled with guided practice and immediate feedback, means students gain technology skills more effectively, and grasp how and why technology applies to their world, according to the announcement.

 

EasyTech is also aligned with ISTE NETS, state, and core curriculum standards.

 

Source: Learning.com, www.learning.com

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Califone Introduces AV Tutor and Digital Cartridge Programs to Help Develop Core Reading Skills

Califone International, Inc., has introduced the AV Tutor with accompanying Digital Cartridge Programs, designed to help educators provide their students enhanced literacy instruction and remediation.

 

The AV Tutor is a handheld player/recorder that allows students to compare their pronunciation of words with prerecorded "model" examples. It offers enhanced sound quality and, being a digital device, requires little maintenance. Appropriate for supplementing classroom curriculum, speech-language therapies, and ESL applications, the device gives students an opportunity to build reading skills independently without needing access to a desktop computer. The AV Tutor plays the chosen word and then uses that word within a sentence. It is designed for smaller hands, and its built-in 8 second memory enables students to compare and contrast their responses to the modeled sounds before moving on to the next lesson.

 

There are a total of seven digital cartridges designed for the AV Tutor, incorporating the most popular card reader programs to help students connect what they see with what they hear. Six of the new programs are digital upgrades from the existing CardMaster programs, which include Picture Words, Phonics, Readiness, Everyday Words #1, Survival Signs, and Basic Vocabulary #1. In addition, Califone has a seventh program, titled "Play Ball," that presents interactive narrative readings, phonemic awareness, and comprehension activities.

 

The AV Tutor was developed in response to educator demand for devices that will engage students as many consumer electronic devices do, such as handheld gaming systems. Califone will continue selling its 2010 and 2020 CardMaster, as well as the recently launched Reader models. The AV Tutor is available for $185 with each digital cartridge priced at $30. The AV Tutor Fundamental Center, which comes with one AV Tutor and 6 cartridges (Play Ball not included), costs $345.


Source: Califone, www.califone.com

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PBS TeacherLine Introduces Courses to Help Teachers Support English Language Learners in the Classroom

PBS TeacherLine has introduced a new collection of courses that focuses on the unique educational needs of English language learners (ELL). More than 5.5 million school-age children in the U.S. are English language learners, comprising 10 percent of the preK-12 student population. Projections indicate that the ELL student population will amount to 50 percent of all students by 2015. Through the Supporting English Language Learners series from PBS TeacherLine, teachers learn skills and techniques that accelerate students' mastery of English and enable students to keep pace with classroom instruction.

 

Enrollment of preK-12 English language learners is growing at almost 10 times the rate of total public school student enrollment. Yet, only 30 percent of public school teachers instructing ELL students have received appropriate training, according to the Education Commission of the States. The accountability mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act require that ELL students' test scores be factored into the determination of whether a school is making adequate yearly progress. Providing the means to train more teachers in this area would be a significant contribution to improving student achievement, the announcement states.

The new collection of PBS TeacherLine courses provides teachers with theoretical and practical information that they can apply immediately to the classroom to help ELL students develop language skills, meet learning standards and achieve academic success. The ELL courses cover language development, technology integration, and assessment in pre-Kindergarten through third grade.

 

The Supporting English Language Learners series comprises three 10-hour courses designed to provide a quick immersion into specific instructional strategies and pedagogy and to accommodate teachers' busy schedules. Rigorously trained facilitators guide teachers through the courses and provide timely, meaningful feedback. Teachers work within a collaborative online learning environment to share ideas and discuss educational practices and challenges.

Teachers can earn professional development points or continuing education units for these courses, depending on their district's requirements.

For more information about PBS TeacherLine and the ELL courses, visit www.pbs.org/teacherline.

Source: PBS TeacherLine, www.pbs.org/teacherline

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Inspiration Launches Kidspiration 3

Inspiration Software has announced the launch of Kidspiration 3. The newest version of Inspiration’s visual learning software supports students in kindergarten through fifth grade as they think creatively and organize ideas to write, comprehend, and communicate successfully.

 

As a cross-curricular visual workspace, teachers and learners can use Kidspiration 3 to build fundamental skills in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. New capabilities include tools for using visual learning to build math skills, a Word Guide, expanded searchable symbol library, and additional enhancements that support vocabulary building, particularly for English Language Learners (ELL) and English as Second Language (ESL) students.

 

Kidspiration 3 extends the principles of visual learning to mathematics with five new visual math tools. Combining the hands-on learning power of manipulatives with the benefits of technology, students will use Kidspiration to build problem-solving and reasoning skills in the core skills areas of counting, place value, computation, and geometric thinking. The new visual math tools in Kidspiration address the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Curriculum Focal Points for Grades K-5, including numbers and operations, measurement, algebra, and two-dimensional geometry. They include:

* Kidspiration Color Tiles: Students use Kidspiration Color Tiles to count, compare, and explore number properties and operations and develop computation strategies. Using Kidspiration Color Tiles, students solve area and perimeter problems and model number patterns and the four basic math operations.

 

* Kidspiration Pattern Blocks: With Kidspiration Pattern Blocks, moveable, stackable geometric shapes, students investigate the properties and attributes of shapes through composition and decomposition. They explore patterns and tessellations, similarity and congruence, experiment with symmetry, and represent fractions.

 

* Kidspiration Base Ten Blocks: With units of ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands, Kidspiration Base Ten Blocks help students understand place value and strengthen number sense. Students count, compare, group, partition, and create equivalent representations of whole numbers and decimals as well as learn about procedures for operations on multi-digit numbers.

 

* Kidspiration Fraction Tiles: Students use Kidspiration Fraction Tiles to compare and order fractions and to understand equivalent fractions. They find common denominators, translate between improper fractions and mixed numbers, and model basic operations with fractions.

 

* Kidspiration Fraction Boxes: Using Kidspiration Fraction Boxes, a dynamic fraction building tool, learners represent fractions visually to build a strong conceptual foundation for figure work with fractions. They compare, order, simplify and find equivalent fractions.

 

With its expanded library of more than 3,000 symbols, students can use Kidspiration 3 to create graphic organizers including webs, concept maps, and Venn diagrams to clarify thoughts, organize information, use new knowledge, and build critical-thinking skills. The new symbol search capabilities allow students to find the right symbols to express their thoughts and ideas, or they can use Symbol Maker to create and personalize their own symbols.

 

The visual learning software’s new Word Guide helps young learners build vocabulary and reading comprehension skills with easy access to nearly 13,000 words, including sight vocabulary from the Dolch and Frye’s word lists. Each entry includes definitions, recorded speech for pronunciation, synonyms and antonyms, parts of speech and sample sentences. The Word Guide pairs 1,400 words with images to enhance word recognition and comprehension and is aligned with Teachers of English as a Second Language (TESL) vocabulary to support ELL and ESL students.

 

Enhanced support for audio in Kidspiration 3 encourages students to express and document their ideas. For ESL and ELL learners, teachers can record instructions in native languages to enhance student understanding. With the Listen tool, students can hear any text read aloud, strengthening word recognition and comprehension.

 

Through a special introductory offer available until June 30, 2008, schools or districts that own Kidspiration volume licenses can save 10 percent or more when they upgrade to Kidspiration 3.

 

Single copies of Kidspiration 3 are $69 and upgrades are $39.95; five-computer licenses are $310; 10-computer licenses are $550; 20-computer licenses are $895, and additional pricing is available for larger volume purchases and volume upgrades. Kidspiration users who purchased their software after Dec. 1, 2007, are eligible for a complimentary upgrade. For a free 30-day trial of Kidspiration 3, visit www.inspiration.com/freetrial.

 

Source: Inspiration Software, Inc., www.inspiration.com

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H.W. Wilson Adds Biography Index Retrospective: 1946-1983 to WilsonWeb

H. W. Wilson has announced the addition of Biography Index Retrospective: 1946-1983 to WilsonWeb, enabling library users to search more than 40 years of Wilson's classic biographical resource in a single database. With citations on people from antiquity through 1980s headlines—data encompassing over 627,000 articles and books published 1946 through 1983—Biography  Index Retrospective brings WilsonWeb searching to the in-depth data that earned Biography Index decades of popularity as a print reference.

 

Researchers will find coverage of notables across all disciplines and subject areas: writers, artists, statesmen, sports figures, politicians, religious leaders, scientists, educators, military leaders, teachers, actors, business people, and more. A cross-section of the database unearths more than 18,000 profiles of painters worldwide, back to the 19th century; nearly 12,000 profiles of generals, from Douglas MacArthur to Hannibal; 5,000 profiles of physicists, from Isaac Newton to Stephen Hawking; more than 21,000 profiles of poets, from James Joyce to Sonia Sanchez; more than 3,100 profiles of pianists; almost 10,000 profiles of state governors back as far as the 1940s; more than 120 profiles of race car drivers, and more.

 

Access by subject, author, publication year, publication name, and issue (plus a wide array of other fields) makes Biography Index Retrospective a great tool for research not only on prominent individuals, but also on attitudes toward these individuals in specific media outlets, in specific eras, and by specific authors. Updated terms for professions allow searching using contemporary language, and name variations are reconciled, ensuring thorough research throughout the decades of coverage and multitude of sources.

 

Free 30-day trials are available. For more on Biography Index Retrospective, visit www.hwwilson.com.

 

Source: H.W. Wilson, www.hwwilson.com

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