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August 05, 2008

Table of Contents

Free Resources: State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) K-12 Content Available Through iTunes U
2009 AASL School Library Media Program of the Year Award: Applications Now Available
AASL Board Approves L4L Program
CDW-G School Safety Self-Assessment Tool Helps Educational Leaders Identify Security Strengths and Improve Weaknesses
Treasure Bay Launches Website to Help Teachers Get Parents Involved in Reading
HotChalk Announces the HotChalk MyLibrary System
CTB/McGraw-Hill’s TerraNova Has New Report Options
Pearson Launches New SuccessMaker Digital Supplementary Curriculum Solution
LEGO Announces LEGO Education WeDo
CDW-G and Discovery Education Support 21st-Century Learning Through Win a Wireless Lab sweepstakes
Thinkronize Makes Weekly Reader Express Available Via netTrekker d.i.
LanSchool Technologies Announces LanSchool v7.1
Aventa Learning Introduces Comprehensive Online Credit Recovery Program for At-Risk and ELL Students

Free Resources: State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) K-12 Content Available Through iTunes U

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has announced the availability of free content for K-12 educators on Apple's iTunes U. Arizona, Florida, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah, along with school districts, museums, and other educational institutions are now sharing resources not only for K-12 educators in their own states, but for teachers around the world. This initiative creates a destination where professional development, curricula resources, examples of best practices and student samples are easily accessible, the announcement states.
 
"This comprehensive collection of quality digital content offers teachers and students a single location to access resources on topics from Florida history to the Navajo language to nano technologies." said Dr. Mary Ann Wolf, SETDA's Executive Director. "Teachers can now access these resources in real-time to support teaching and learning. The new K-12 resources on iTunes U address the critical need to engage students through technology-based resources in the core curriculum areas."
 
iTunes U is an area of the iTunes Store dedicated to providing free education content. iTunes, a free software download for Mac or PC, is required. Focused collections of content designed for use in elementary, middle- and high-school are available in the K-12 category of iTunes U. For more information visit  http://www.apple.com/itunesu.

Source: The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), www.setda.org/

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2009 AASL School Library Media Program of the Year Award: Applications Now Available

The 2009 application for the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National School Library Media Program of the Year award is now available online at www.ala.org/aasl/awards.

The awards honor school library media programs that are fully integrated into the school curriculum. One District award and two Single School awards will be presented. Each of the three winning programs will receive a $10,000 prize donated by Follett Library Resources.

Background on the awards and information on past winners is also available online.

The application deadline is Jan. 2, 2009.

AASL, www.aasl.org.  

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AASL Board Approves L4L Program

The Board of Directors of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) approved the development of a new program titled Learning 4 Life (L4L). The 3-5 year program will be implemented in fall 2008 to help gain attention for AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner and the guidelines for implementing the standards.

The goal is to gain implementation of the learning standards at the national level. The program allows learning standards to be customized for local and state conditions, as well as to reflect the multicultural populations of U.S. schools.

The Standards for the 21st-Century Learner program advocates the concept that school library media specialists play an important role in preparing students to compete in a global community.

L4L uses the number four to echo and reinforce the four standards:

1. Inquire, think critically and gain knowledge.

2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations and create new knowledge.

3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.

4. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

The learning standards are available online at http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards.

AASL, www.aasl.org .  

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CDW-G School Safety Self-Assessment Tool Helps Educational Leaders Identify Security Strengths and Improve Weaknesses

CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G) has announced the publication of the 2008 School Safety Index Self-Assessment Tool, enabling school and community leaders to take CDW-G’s School Safety Index survey and receive an instant score showing how their school or district compares to the national school safety average, which CDW-G reported in May.

 

Using the self-assessment tool, school leaders, parents and policy makers answer 12 questions about physical and cyber safety. Each question highlights an indicator of strong school safety programs, as well as the barriers to improved school safety. The self-assessment results are meant to spark discussion about school security at the local school level. The CDW-G School Safety Index Self-Assessment Tool is online at www.schoolsafetyindex.com.

 

The CDW-G School Safety Index Self-Assessment Tool scores schools and districts on eight safety indicators, or strengths, and four contraindicators, or weaknesses:

 

* Cyber Security Indicators

District Cooperation

Data Monitoring

Network Access

User Authentication

Education

 

* Physical Security Indicators

Security Tools

Local Authority Communication

Emergency Communication

 

* Cyber Security Contraindicators

IT Breaches

IT Barriers

 

* Physical Security Contraindicators 

Physical Breaches

Physical Barriers

 

CDW-G surveyed more than 400 district IT and security directors to arrive at the national school safety average, which was published in the School Safety Index report in May. For a complete copy of the survey report, visit www.cdwg.com/schoolsafetyindex.

Source: CDW-G, www.cdwg.com/

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Treasure Bay Launches Website to Help Teachers Get Parents Involved in Reading

Treasure Bay has announced the launch of ReadingPlace.org, a website to help teachers get parents involved in reading. The philosophy behind ReadingPlace.org is that getting parents involved in their child's reading development could be the most powerful strategy in teaching children to read. The newly-launched website is based on a forthcoming title, Involving Parents in their Children's Reading Development: A Guide for Teachers, by Bruce Johnson, and Treasure Bay Publishing has designed the site to give teachers a place to share best practices and learn from each other.

 

ReadingPlace has already begun the process of providing support to teachers. On the site (www.ReadingPlace.org) there is a downloadable tip sheet that teachers can send home to parents with suggestions on how reading strategies can be incorporated into home routines. There are also discussion forums for teachers with topics such as "Phonics Games and Activities," "Struggling Readers," "Involving Parents in Reading," and "Books - Faves and Flops."

 

One recurring theme is the importance of reading aloud even after the child has learned to read independently. Reading aloud, preferably on a daily basis, improves a child's language development, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. It also models good reading habits, and by sharing the activity, parents demonstrate how much fun reading can be. This at-home practice deepens the child's learning and strengthens the teacher's instructions at school.


For more information on how teachers can help parents become more active in their child's reading development, visit www.ReadingPlace.org.

Source: Treasure Bay Publishing, www.webothread.com

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HotChalk Announces the HotChalk MyLibrary System

HotChalk has announced the HotChalk MyLibrary system, which enables schools and districts to choose precisely the way information is presented and delivered to help teachers get measurably improved results with students.

 

The MyLibraryPlus component enables schools and districts to manage, upload, organize and deliver a growing library of digital assets. This content and curriculum manager includes teacher lesson plans that meet mandatory state curriculum standards. MyLibraryPlus can be used with content from a variety of producers and market participants.

 

With HotChalk's MyLibrary, users locate free teacher-approved lesson plans that are accessible with one click: thousands of videos and content from the best producers in digital education, including NBC News, McGraw-Hill Education, National Geographic, PBS, and A&E Television Networks.

 

A teacher can gather a collection of relevant audio, video, text, lesson plans, content from a media partner, and their own files as well, by typing their search term into HotChalk's My Library digital content browser.

 

The technology integrates seamlessly with HotChalk's enhanced Learning Management System, the HotChalk Learning Environment, which automates daily teacher and student activities and provides a safe secure, online environment for teachers, parents, and students to interact.

 

For more information, log on to HotChalk.com

 

Source: HotChalk, www.hotchalk.com

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CTB/McGraw-Hill’s TerraNova Has New Report Options

CTB/McGraw-Hill’s TerraNova assessment now includes companion reports. Developed in partnership with CTB/McGraw-Hill and The Grow Network/McGraw-Hill, the reports provide educators and parents with a view of student achievement in five categories: Home Reports, Class Reports, Grade Reports, School Summary Reports, and District Summary Reports.

The Home Reports show how students perform relative to students nationwide in each subject on the TerraNova 3 test in Reading, Language, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. The reports also provide instructional activities directly tied to a student’s assessment performance. A translation guide is available online to assist non-English speaking families.

The Class Reports present a snapshot of classroom performance by subject objectives and provide additional information such as recommended reading lists that teachers can use to engage students.

The Grade, School, and District reports provide educators, principals, and administrators with an executive overview of assessment results.

CTB/McGraw-Hill, www.ctb.com.  

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Pearson Launches New SuccessMaker Digital Supplementary Curriculum Solution

Pearson has announced the launch of its new SuccessMaker, a digital, supplementary, curriculum solution. A highly engaging, animated, research-based program, SuccessMaker is designed to support classroom instruction in reading and mathematics, the announcement states.

Premiering at the 2008 National Educational Computing Conference, SuccessMaker was developed by leading experts in literacy and mathematics education. Used in conjunction with a school’s core reading or math program, it provides schools with an approach toward learning that accommodates learners with a wide range of needs—including students with learning disabilities, gifted students, at-risk students, and English language learners—rather than a "one size fits all" approach, according to Pearson.

While many educators are familiar with SuccessMaker Enterprise, the new SuccessMaker is Pearson’s next generation of standards-based, digital supplemental instruction. All SuccessMaker instructional content is aligned with state standards, allowing teachers to assign lessons based on learning objectives in the core curriculum. It is filled with digital characters who engage and motivate young students to learn.

SuccessMaker offers a Lexile-leveled reading curriculum that reflects the five strands for reading instruction – phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension – outlined by the National Reading Panel. Lexiles provide a common scale for matching reader ability and text difficulty and are the most widely adopted reading measure in use today.

The mathematics lessons in SuccessMaker incorporate practice tutorials and assessments based on the best practices for math instruction outlined by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

SuccessMaker’s Learning Management System allows teachers to make individualized assignments and combines up-to-the-minute classroom information with on-demand reports that allow teachers and administrators to track progress by student, class, school, or district. The visual dashboard is color-coded, making it easier and faster for educators to make informed instructional decisions.

For more information about SuccessMaker, visit www.pearsondigital.com/sm21century/.

Source: Pearson, www.pearsondigital.com

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LEGO Announces LEGO Education WeDo

LEGO Education, The LEGO Group’s educational division, has announced LEGO Education WeDo, a new product that redefines classroom robotics, making it possible for primary school students 7-11 years of age to build and program their own solutions. Bridging the physical world, represented by LEGO models, and the virtual world, represented by computers and programming software, LEGO Education WeDo provides a hands-on, minds-on learning experience that actively involves young students in their own learning process and promotes children’s creative thinking, teamwork, and problem solving skills – skills that are essential in the workplace of the 21st century. The new product will be available beginning January 1, 2009.

 

LEGO Education WeDo encourages teachers to issue curriculum-based challenges for students to solve. Working in teams, children invent their own solution by building a LEGO model and programming it to perform a certain task. Cause and effect learning is enhanced by the models remaining tethered to a computer; similar to scientists in working labs, children can test and adjust their programming in real time. After reflecting on what did and did not work, students can consult with peers, adapt programming, adjust models, or begin again. Newly designed software developed by National Instruments, makes programming easy and intuitive and students quickly learn that they can solve real-world challenges by tinkering with building and programming.

 

Developed to cover a broad range of curriculum areas, WeDo sample topics include Language and Literacy: narrative and journalistic writing, storytelling, interviewing, and interpreting; Mathematics: measuring time and distance, adding, multiplying, estimating, using variables; Science: transmission of motion, working with simple machines, gears, levers, and pulleys; Technology: programming, using software media and creating a working model.

 

The complete LEGO WeDo package includes:

* 158 colored LEGO elements, including gears, and levers

* One LEGO USB Hub connects directly to a Mac/PC laptop, desktop, OLPC XO or Intel Classmate computer to allow control of hardware input (tilt and motion sensors) and output (motor), thereby bringing models to life

* One motor, one motion sensor, and one tilt sensor

* Drag-and-drop icon-based software that provides an intuitive and easy-to-use programming environment suitable for beginners and experienced users alike, developed by a leading provider of engineering hardware and software, National Instruments

* Activity pack CD-ROM provides up to 24 hours of instruction and includes 12 activities based on four themes: Amazing Mechanisms, Wild Animals, Play Soccer, and Adventure Stories. Running alongside programming software, activities are introduced via animations. Teacher notes and glossary are also included.

Source: The LEGO Group, www.LEGO.com

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CDW-G and Discovery Education Support 21st-Century Learning Through Win a Wireless Lab sweepstakes

CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G) and Discovery Education have announced the grand-prize winners of their sixth annual Win a Wireless Lab sweepstakes. The five winners are Springwood School, Lanett, Ala.; Dorseyville Middle School, Pittsburgh; Rector A. Jones Middle School, Florence, Ky.; St. Michael School, Cranford, N.J.; and Vermont Avenue Elementary School, Los Angeles.

  

Each of the five grand prize winners will receive a 21st-century classroom valued at approximately $45,000, including:

* $5,000 Discovery Education software grant

* 20 tablet PCs from HP, Lenovo or Toshiba

* 3 wireless access points from D-Link, Linksys or NETGEAR

* 1 Bretford mobile cart

* 1 Promethean Activboard

* 20 Promethean Activote responders

* 1 video projector from Epson or NEC Solutions

* 1 AVerMedia document camera

* 2 Sony digital cameras

* 2 Sony camcorders

* 1 laser jet printer from Epson or HP

  

CDW-G and Discovery Education will provide installation and onsite professional development to the schools this fall. Overall, this year’s Win a Wireless Lab program awarded prizes to 25 schools nationwide, totaling over $300,000. For a full list of prizes, visit http://cdwg.discoveryeducation.com/new/site/prizes.cfm?pgid=prizes. The full list of winners is available at http://cdwg.discoveryeducation.com.

 

Source: CDW-G, http://cdwg.com

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Thinkronize Makes Weekly Reader Express Available Via netTrekker d.i.

Thinkronize Inc. has announced that Weekly Reader Express, a digital collection of K-12 articles and resources from Weekly Reader’s flagship collection of classroom magazines, is now available on netTrekker d.i. safe educational search engine.

 

For over 100 years, teachers and students have read Weekly Reader’s engaging materials that connect classroom learning with world events. Now subscribers of netTrekker d.i. will have the option to upgrade and receive Weekly Reader Express, a searchable compendium of articles, teacher’s guide materials, and reproducible activities from 11 Weekly Reader classroom magazines—including over 7,000 resources from 2000 to the present, with more added quarterly.

 

Thinkronize will make Weekly Reader Express available in a digital format and deliver it through netTrekker d.i.’s search results.

 

The Weekly Reader Express collection covers a broad range of academic topics, from social studies and English-language arts to science, health, current events, and career development, and can be used to build reading skills, help with lesson planning, and provide engaging, grade-appropriate information for students in grades K to 12. Because it is keyed to each state’s curriculum, Weekly Reader Express is a fast way to identify appropriate content and create grade-specific lessons on curriculum topics.

  

Weekly Reader Express will also contain full-text access to its other Weekly Reader magazines—including Current Events, Current Science, and Career World, as well as their associated teacher’s guides.

Source: Thinkronize, www.thinkronize.com

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LanSchool Technologies Announces LanSchool v7.1

LanSchool Technologies LLC has announced that LanSchool v7.1, a new version of its classroom management software,  is now available. USB drive blocking and keystroke/application monitoring are two new features  of version 7.1 that improve control. Teachers can turn off access to student USB drives without affecting other USB devices. Application and keystroke monitoring saves a history of application usage and gives teachers access to everything a student types on their keyboard.

 

LanSchool v7.1 improves usability in the thumbnail view of its interface by allowing teachers to arrange the high-color thumbnails to represent the classroom layout. An additional small thumbnail size allows over 80 computers to be seen on a 15-inch screen.

 

Several other performance and feature enhancements were added in the areas of wireless reliability, installation, voting, limiting the internet, and student questions. LanSchool v7.1 manages computer-based classrooms, wireless laptop carts and 1:1 laptop/tablet schools.

 

LanSchool v7.1 is a free upgrade for customers that purchased LanSchool v7.0 over the past year. Educational pricing starts at $299 for classrooms with less than 10 computers and $599 for larger classrooms. Volume discounts, competitive upgrades, K-12 school, and district site licenses are available.

Source: LanSchool Technologies, www.lanschool.com/

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Aventa Learning Introduces Comprehensive Online Credit Recovery Program for At-Risk and ELL Students

Aventa Learning has significantly expanded its online credit recovery program for high school schools to address the needs of at-risk students and English Language Learners.

 

Aventa Learning Credit Recovery provides schools with an online credit recovery program that adapts to students’ learning needs, supports English language learners, and provides schools with flexible implementation options to help all students reach their full potential. Credit recovery is designed for students who fail required courses and must make up credits needed for graduation.

 

According to numerous published reports, approximately one-third of high school students – and nearly half of Hispanic students – do not graduate on time. Dropping out of school is correlated to a number of negative social and economic outcomes, including unemployment, low income levels, poor health, and incarceration. School leaders are looking for ways to support all students and improve graduation rates.

 

Aventa Learning Credit Recovery offers flexible implementation options to meet the varying needs of schools, minimizing staffing and facility costs while offering an enriching learning environment for students. Schools can opt for different levels of online teacher support, ELL support, and testing and reinforcement of standards mastery, according to the announcement.

 

The online courses provided through Aventa’s credit recovery program offer a media-rich curriculum with graphics, animation, sound and video, and interactivity to foster comprehension and accommodate multiple learning styles. More than 20 courses in six subjects areas are available through the program.

 

Aventa’s program uses a diagnostic approach to teaching and learning. Formative and summative assessments are conducted throughout the course to establish a student’s strengths and weaknesses, and to validate standards mastery. Lessons and course materials are organized based on student performance on diagnostic tests. Course content is delivered on demand so students can proceed at their own pace.

 

another benefit of the program is the support provided to ELL students to ensure their academic success. Some of the instructional strategies and technologies incorporated in the program that are designed for ELL students include:

* Use of non-linguistic representations (timelines, word webs, cause-effect diagrams, physical models, manipulatives, etc.)

* Pre-teaching of vocabulary to increase comprehension of new material

* Use of cloze activities that provide repetition with support gradually removed

* Access of activities in drag-and-drop graphic format

* Use of graphic organizers that students manipulate to complete activities

 

For more information about the Aventa Learning Credit Recovery Program, go to www.aventalearning.com.

Source: Aventa Learning, www.aventalearning.com

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