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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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July 22, 2008

Table of Contents

ISTE Publishes New Version of Technology Standards for Teachers
Tool Factory Adds Lesson Plan Book to Podcasting Kit
Partnership for 21st Century Skills and National Council for the Social Studies Create Framework for Integrating 21st Century Skills into Social Studies Curriculum
ERIC Now on WilsonWeb
MindPlay Announces New, More Comprehensive Version of RAPS
ThinkCentral from Holt McDougal Released at NECC 2008
Follett’s Latest Destiny Release Includes Free eBooks
AutoSkill Launches Response to Intervention Package for Academy of READING
World Book Introduces World Book Discover

ISTE Publishes New Version of Technology Standards for Teachers

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) releases the second edition of National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS*T) this month.

The update addresses the pedagogical skills and knowledge that teachers must have to lead and support effective student learning in an increasingly digital society. The new version also includes the new standards for students with an emphasis on skills and expertise supported by technology.

First published in 2000, the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS*T) introduced ISTE’s technology standards for teachers and included profiles for each stage of teacher education from general preparation through first-year teaching.

The book is priced at $9.05 for ISTE members and $12.95 for nonmembers.

ISTE, www.iste.org.  

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Tool Factory Adds Lesson Plan Book to Podcasting Kit

Tool Factory now adds its newest book, Adventures in Podcasting: Incredible Lesson Plans for Your Classroom, to the Tool Factory Podcasting Kit.

The Tool Factory Podcasting Kit, for Windows computers and network use, includes:

--Tool Factory Podcasting software providing a podcasting organizational tool, a scripting tool, an audio recorder, an RSS feed generator, and an easy upload feature.

--An Olympus Digital Voice Recorder that can be used to record interviews, narration, field trips, and more. The device is also an MP3 player.

--An Olympus Noise Reduction Microphone.

--A one-year subscription to Clip Art Station, an online source for copyright-free audio clips and sound effects.

--A three-month subscription to Web Page Station, an online podcast hosting resource.

--Tool Factory’s Simple Guide to Podcasting, a book that covers basic podcasting information and includes a bonus CD with edit-ready planning worksheets and a PowerPoint presentation to help teach podcasting.

--Adventures in Podcasting: Incredible Lessons for Your Classroom, a book that provides 40 podcast lesson plans and includes a bonus CD with editable worksheets.

The Tool Factory Podcasting Kit is priced at $269.99 (single unit price). A product tour and training videos are online at www.toolfactory.com.

Tool Factory, www.toolfactory.com.  

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Partnership for 21st Century Skills and National Council for the Social Studies Create Framework for Integrating 21st Century Skills into Social Studies Curriculum

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills and National Council for the Social Studies have announced the release of the 21st Century Skills and Social Studies Map, the first of its kind to be released. The map demonstrates how the integration of 21st century skills into social studies supports teaching and prepares students to become effective and productive citizens in the 21st century.

 

Suggested lesson plans allow teachers to easily integrate the map into their curriculum and provide their students with a well-rounded educational experience to best prepare them for the 21st century. The map also cites specific student outcomes and provides project models that will result in enhanced student achievement in grades four, eight, and 12.

 

The social studies map is the first in a series of core content maps designed for educators, administrators and policymakers. Other maps will be available for mathematics, English, geography and science throughout 2008 and 2009. All of the Partnership's resources are freely available at http://www.21stcenturyskills.org.

 

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education to ensure every child's success as citizens and workers in the 21st century. The Partnership encourages schools, districts, and states to advocate for the infusion of 21st century skills into education and provides tools and resources to help facilitate and drive change.

 

21st Century Skills Leadership States include Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

 

Partnership for 21st Century Skills member organizations include Adobe Systems, Inc., American Association of School Librarians, Apple, ASCD, AT&T, Atomic Learning, Blackboard, Inc., Cable in the Classroom, Cengage Learning, Cisco Systems, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Davis Publications, Dell, Inc., Discovery Education, Education Networks of America, Education Testing Service, EF Education, Ford Motor Company Fund, Giant Campus, Hewlett Packard, Intel Foundation, JA Worldwide, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, LEGO Group, Lenovo, Measured Progress, Microsoft Corporation, National Education Association, Oracle Education Foundation, Pearson, PolyVision, SAP, Sesame Workshop, Texas Instruments, THINKronize, Verizon, and Wireless Generation.

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

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ERIC Now on WilsonWeb

Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is now searchable as a WilsonWeb database.

ERIC, sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education, allows the searching of 1.1 million bibliographic citations and more than 100,000 full-text entries on education topics dating back to 1966. The material covers journal articles, books, research syntheses, conference papers, technical reports, policy papers, reports from the What Works Clearinghouse, and other education-related materials. More than 600 journals are indexed by the database.

ERIC on Wilson Web offers:

--Seamless searching with Education Full Text, Education Index Retrospective, Social Sciences Full Text, and other WilsonWeb databases. Search results are fully integrated.

--Cross-references to Wilson’s education subject thesaurus.

--WilsonWeb’s "All Smart" search with relevance ranking that accounts for the importance of the field in which the search term is found (subject, title, abstract, author, or full text).

--Full-text translations, including electronic conversions of articles into Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

--Saved searches and search histories. The My WilsonWeb profiles allow users to create and manage saved searches, search histories, and more.

--Content Discovery Keys in search results; links launch related searches, allow users to narrow results by author, subject, publication, year, document type, and database, or to select previous searches from the Recent Searches listing.

The ERIC database is offered free on WilsonWeb to Education Full Text and Wilson OmniFile subscribers. ERIC is also available as a subscription with an annual fee.

H.W. Wilson, www.hwwilson.com.  

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MindPlay Announces New, More Comprehensive Version of RAPS

MindPlay has announced a new, more comprehensive version of its computerized Reading Analysis & Prescription System, RAPS. RAPS 360 facilitates quicker and more effective diagnosis of K-10 reading gaps, according to the announcement.

 

RAPS 360 helps teachers gauge a student’s ability to read and comprehend grade level passages and then further diagnoses reading skills based on the determined proficiency levels. The program establishes a baseline for each skill area and continually measures student progress via an adaptive algorithm. Its series of diagnostic tests follows a two-pronged approach, both starting with a comprehensive screening assessment that determines the reading comprehension level.

 

Teachers can use the results to group students for targeted intervention or to customize the tests by grade level or functional ability. In addition, the program automatically develops an individualized learning plan that can be used to fill gaps with MindPlay’s My Reading Coach and FLRT – a fluent reading trainer, including recommendations on how to help students meet targeted goals as appropriate. The program reports on student performance within an entire district, a school, a class, and at the individual level and so is a useful tool for tracking adequate yearly progress. The reports include graphics and tables for easier comprehension.

 

Source: MindPlay, www.mindplay.com

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ThinkCentral from Holt McDougal Released at NECC 2008

Holt McDougal has announced the launch of ThinkCentral — a full-featured learning management system (LMS) combining digital content with class and district management tools — at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in San Antonio. 

 

At a time when the K–12 market is undergoing rapid growth in the adoption and utilization of digital learning systems like online textbooks, ThinkCentral offers middle and high schools a powerful LMS previously unavailable to secondary schools, according to the announcement. ThinkCentral combines instructional content, pedagogical function, and management tools and allows schools to connect all elements of their teaching into a single location. 

 

With ThinkCentral, teachers can customize their teaching environment by managing textbook content, teaching tools, administrative tasks, and by individualizing the instruction experience for each student. Additionally, districts can use ThinkCentral as a system-wide resource to manage content delivery, generate standards-based reports, and allow collaborative curriculum development. 

 

As a publisher-hosted LMS, ThinkCentral includes an assignment manager; a reporting system to analyze class or student performance; a content authoring system; a schedulable calendar; a roster manager; tools for delivering automated remediation and differentiated instruction; and a searchable database of instructional materials allowing users to locate content by standard or keyword. In addition to Holt McDougal online textbook content, ThinkCentral can incorporate many other types of digital content including question banks, leveled resources, multimedia components, web links, and more. Because the content and system work so closely together, it is possible to deliver automated remediation and targeted resources to specified learning groups.

 

ANGEL Learning, one of the leading developers of LMSs for higher education, developed ThinkCentral in partnership with Holt McDougal and its parent company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 

ThinkCentral for K–6 is available through Houghton Mifflin Harcourt School Publishers.

Source: Holt McDougal, http://holtmcdougal.hmhco.com/

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Follett’s Latest Destiny Release Includes Free eBooks

Follett Software Company has announced Version 8.5 of the Destiny Resource Management Solution. School districts that upgrade to the latest version of Destiny can jump-start their ebook collection with 65 free ebooks per school. Users of the new Destiny Library Manager release can choose from a list of classic titles in the middle- and high-school ranges, available through a special arrangement with Follett Library Resources. Once downloaded, the ebooks are searchable and available through Destiny Library Manager.

 

Destiny Library Manager features a number of enhancements that help make the school library more integral to student learning and classroom instruction:

* Destiny Quest: Version 8.5 of Destiny Library Manager includes Destiny Quest, the new online searching interface focused on the student that is being unveiled at NECC 08. Destiny Quest combines a visually engaging interface, broad-based integrated searching power and social networking components. The interface offers new functions such as the ability to post ratings and reviews – including audio and video reviews – and a function that lets users virtually browse library shelves.

* Guided Reading Support: In addition to Accelerated Reader, Scholastic Reading Counts, and Lexile information, subscribers to the Reading Programs service for Destiny can now see Fountas and Pinnell reading level for books. The information makes it easier to implement the popular Guided Reading approach in classrooms.

* Fast Access to Digital Content: Destiny users can now upload audio files, videos, PDFs, Word documents, PowerPoint files and other digital content to a MARC record, so that a link to the digital content displays in the title details. Digital content is keyword searchable, so students can quickly find and access it with a single click.

* Share Book Recommendations: Using Destiny Library Manager 8.5, teachers, students and media specialists can recommend library books or media to other patrons. The recommendations appear in the student’s "My Info" space.

* Patron Input on Collection Development: Users can now suggest library books or media they would like to see in the collection from within Destiny. They can also add a note to explain why the book would be a useful addition. Destiny compiles the recommendations into a "Wish List" for each site, which can be viewed by users with administrator access. 

 

Destiny 8.5 includes several improvements in the Destiny Textbook Manager module as well:

* Save and Generate Revenue on Textbooks: Destiny Textbook Manager lets districts upload textbook inventory information to Follett Educational Services, which provides detailed, real-time financial reports on how much the district can save by buying pre-owned copies of needed texts, and how much revenue they can generate by selling surpluses.

* Easier Textbook Transfers Between Schools: Destiny 8.5 now makes it easier to identify copies belonging to other sites and provides the option to transfer ownership of the copy without initiating a formal transfer. New capabilities make it possible to track copies added, marked lost, or transferred/received. 

* More Powerful Reports: District textbook managers can now view comprehensive textbook statistics in a new report format, including a new column showing the checkout percentage by school. In addition, sites now have the ability to review textbook statistics for prior years. A "Subject" field has been added to the textbook title record. Authorized users at the site, district or state level can select a subject from the dropdown list and add, edit or delete subjects.

* Faster, Easier Barcoding:  Rather than generating new barcodes when they implement Textbook Manager, districts can now opt to use pre-existing barcodes simply by scanning or typing in a list of barcodes. In addition, textbooks previously barcoded with the Follett Classic "T" prefix will now be accepted by Destiny Textbook Manager.

 

Destiny Asset Manager, which helps districts track all their fixed and movable assets from a single, centralized location, has also received new features in the 8.5 version:

* Automated Preventive Maintenance Notification: To help custodians keep on top of item maintenance, asset administrators now have the ability to add scheduled maintenance information for asset items and generate automatic email notification.

* Expanded Asset Value Report: The Asset Value report has been expanded with an itemized reporting function which displays all items for a chosen asset type.

* Automated Transfer of Data to Purchasing Systems: Asset Manager now lets users automate and schedule the export of information from Asset Manager to district purchasing systems.

 

All modules in the Destiny Resource Management Solution have received common improvements in version 8.5:

* Enhanced District-Level Control: A number of new features in Destiny Library Manager make it easier to coordinate the library management district-wide. For instance, a district-level administrator can now configure and edit the open/closed days on the district calendar and have those changes take effect at individual sites or site types. The district now also has the ability to set up and control library policies and define patron and circulation types at the site. District users can be allowed the ability to log directly into school sites with only one user name and password.

* Automatic Email Transfer Notification: When a textbook or asset is being transferred from one site to another, Destiny will automatically generate an email to the receiving location, notifying them that a transfer needs processing.

* Microsoft Vista Compatible: Destiny 8.5 can be now accessed from computers running Microsoft VISTA and Microsoft Windows 98.

 

Source: Follett Software Company, www.follettsoftware.com/

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AutoSkill Launches Response to Intervention Package for Academy of READING

AutoSkill International has launched  its RtI (Response to Intervention) Package for the Academy of  READING. The company’s new solution is the first reading RtI product  to deliver oral fluency assessments over the Web and combine an RtI  management tool with an intervention program and professional  development, the announcement states. When used with the Academy of READING  intervention solution, the RtI Package gives schools a single, Web-based environment for fully supporting the RtI model.


The Academy of READING is designed to help at-risk students build  fluency in the foundation skills of reading to achieve rapid,  permanent gains. The program delivers individualized, computer-based instruction with an  adaptive intervention engine, skill mastery based on automaticity and  motivational principles.


This new plug-in for the Academy of READING includes  software and professional development components: the RtI Toolkit  and the RtIWORKS program. The RtI Toolkit gives teachers web-based  tools for the effective management of RtI. From an RtI  dashboard, they have access to interactive progress-monitoring  graphs, school- and district-monitoring reports, and a student case  management tool. The toolkit’s Web-based Oral Reading Fluency  Benchmark Assessment allows teachers to assess student fluency and is  available for unlimited use with all students as a universal  assessment. Teachers can use the Academy of READING Diagnostic Test  Package to further pinpoint areas of weakness, identifying specific  skill deficits, assigning prescriptive training to differentiate  instruction and creating dynamic Individualized Education Programs  (IEPs).


Developed in consultation with RtI expert John McCook,  Ed.D., RtIWORKS is a professional development program designed to  help schools build best practices for using the RtI Package for the  Academy of READING in their RtI implementation. Along with campus  planning, needs analysis and "on model" documentation, schools get  access to workshops for their RtI teams and follow-up services to  review their data and processes.


To use the RtI Package, schools must have a license for  the Academy of READING. The Academy of READING is available as a  permanent license or subscription and is priced per campus in  concurrent student user packs, with unlimited usage for  administrators. Pricing for the RtI Package is based on a per-site  license, with unlimited student and administrator use.
For more information about the Academy of READING and  the new RtI Package, visit www.autoskill.com.

Source: AutoSkill International, www.autoskill.com

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World Book Introduces World Book Discover

World Book has announced the introduction of World Book Discover, a new resource designed specifically to meet the needs of students who read below the level of their peers. This latest addition to the World Book Web provides content, tools, and features to help bridge the achievement gap and support differentiated instruction.

 

Individuals who can benefit from differentiated learning resources include the more than 60 percent of high school students the National Assessment of Adult Literacy has found read at the basic or below basic level and the more than 20 percent of adults in the U.S. who read at or below the fifth-grade reading level as determined by the National Institute for Literacy. Additionally, the National Assessment of Educational Progress identified that nearly four million students received English language learner services in 2005, indicating a growing demand for differentiated learning among non-native English speakers.

 

Among the key features of World Book Discover are its easy-to-read articles on topics that interest older students accompanied by reading comprehension questions to help readers focus on key concepts. A text-to-speech feature allows students to hear text read aloud, also increasing comprehension.

 

For visual learners, World Book Discover includes a visual dictionary with text in English, Spanish, and French along with World Book Explains, a searchable video series that features experts from NASA, Disney, Sea World, the National Park Service, Carnegie Hall, and other notable institutions answering students' questions on various topics from how big the galaxy is to how dolphins communicate. For students who may be more comfortable in a language other than English, World Book Discover includes text-translation capabilities in more than a dozen languages.

 

Another feature of World Book Discover is a comprehensive section focused on life skills, covering such topics as buying and maintaining a car, applying for a job, budgeting, arranging housing, and understanding health care issues.

 

World Book Discover is available as a standalone subscription or an addition to an existing World Book Web subscription. A special discount is available to schools and libraries adding World Book Discover to any other World Book Web subscription.

Source: World Book, Inc., www.worldbook.com

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