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August 19, 2008

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Fall 2008 “History and the Headlines” Collections From ABC-CLIO
ITI Crosslinks: ThinkeringSpace Project Aims to Provide a New Way to Play in the 21st Century
EBSCO Publishing and NewsBank Form Integrated Search Partnership
Free Resources: CoSN IT Disaster Recovery Checklist
Canvastic Version 3.5 for Macintosh and Windows Ships
PASCO scientific and WeatherBug Announce Joint Content Integration Agreement
Free Resources: AASL Offers More than $45,000 in 2009 Awards Program
Scholastic Education Releases Upgraded, New Editions of WiggleWorks
NoodleTools’ NoodleBib Integrates With Pearson’s MyCompLab
Learning Today to Develop New Math Applets for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
H.W. Wilson Debuts Essay and General Literature Index Retrospective: 1900-1984

Free Resources: Fall 2008 “History and the Headlines” Collections From ABC-CLIO

As the 2008  presidential election campaign starts to heat up, students can  spend the fall exploring politics and conflicts with three new free  "History and the Headlines" collections from ABC-CLIO. "History and  the Headlines" is a free online resource from ABC-CLIO and leading  history organizations, such as The History Channel and National  History Day. Each site is designed to provide authoritative and  engaging information to help students dissect and understand  important events and movies based on historical events.

Launching August 15, "History and the Headlines: Arab- Israeli Wars: 60 Years of Conflict" will allow students to  investigate the historical dilemma at the core of this bloody, long- running conflict. Resources from ABC-CLIO’s "Encyclopedia of the Arab- Israeli Conflict: A Political, Social, and Military History" and  video clips provided by The History Channel will help students  critically examine the issues around this six-decade conflict and  discuss the question, "Do Arabs or Jews have a historical right to  the land known as Palestine?"

 

A special "Reel to Real" edition of "History and the  Headlines," debuting on September 26, will help students connect the  fictionalized story in Spike Lee’s highly anticipated World War II  film, "Miracle at St. Anna," to the role that African Americans  played in the military during World War II. "History and the  Headlines: African Americans in World War II" focuses on the  experience of African Americans during this global conflict, with  resources from ABC-CLIO’s five-volume "Encyclopedia of World War II:  A Political, Social, and Military History."

 

Later in the fall, students can explore what happens  when conflict enters the Oval Office with "Frost/Nixon," also a "Reel  to Real" edition of "History and the Headlines." This site, debuting  on November 28, will help students understand the events leading up  to former President Richard Nixon’s controversial post-resignation  interview with British journalist David Frost that is the focus of  Ron Howard’s new film, "Frost/Nixon." Using primary source documents,  they can examine the role of each player in the Watergate scandal,  such as chief of staff H. R. Haldeman, domestic affairs advisor John  Ehrlichman, and journalist Bob Woodward, and think critically about  the way this scandal changed the course of U.S. history.

 

A fourth fall edition of "History and the Headlines,"  focusing on the 2008 Presidential Election, will launch in early  September. To sign up to receive information about this special site  and future topics in "History and the Headlines," visit www.abc-clio.com/historyandtheheadlines.

 

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

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ITI Crosslinks: ThinkeringSpace Project Aims to Provide a New Way to Play in the 21st Century

What do you get when you tinker with thinking … and playing … and technology? Well, one result would be the ThinkeringSpace project, which Information Today Inc.’s Kathy Dempsey reported on in a recent ITI NewsBreak. It’s compelling: "The idea is to design a place where young people can ‘tinker" and ‘think’ at the same time, learning things outside of schools while playing outside the box," she reports. More from her article:

 

 

ThinkeringSpace is one of those projects you’ll want to keep an eye on, because it just might have a big effect on the future of libraries. ThinkeringSpace is a creative design project based at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago. The concept is not exactly easy to explain. The website ( www.id.iit.edu/ThinkeringSpaces ) refers to it as "An experiment in exploratory learning funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation." The homepage itself says, "ThinkeringSpace is a system, made of both physical and virtual environments, that aims to promote creative and critical thinking skills for the 21st century." My own best explanation is that it’s a high-tech, mobile, collaborative space for play that’s being designed to be set up in libraries for various purposes and programs.

 

Still clear as mud? Part of the reason is that ThinkeringSpace hasn’t even really been built yet. Let’s go back to the project’s beginnings and explain it from the ground up …

 

As we suggested, compelling! Click HERE to read Kathy's entire story on Information Today, Inc.’s NewsBreaks.

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EBSCO Publishing and NewsBank Form Integrated Search Partnership

EBSCO Publishing and NewsBank have announced an agreement forming an integrated search partnership. Customers subscribing to databases from EBSCOhost and NewsBank will be able to easily link to NewsBank results using the EBSCOhost interface based on the agreement between the two companies. Through integrated search technology imbedded in EBSCOhost, mutual subscribers will be able to access results from NewsBank after launching a search in EBSCOhost. The service is free to mutual customers of both EBSCOhost and NewsBank full-text news databases.

 

A new link on the EBSCOhost interface allows users to go directly to their NewsBank results based on the EBSCOhost search. When a user enters search terms into the EBSCOhost interface, a link to relevant full-text results will appear in the result list — putting the NewsBank resources a click away.

  

The EBSCOhost search platform is used as a research interface in libraries around the world. This agreement allows mutual customers to search the EBSCOhost interface to find NewsBank results and then access them in the NewsBank interface.

Source: EBSCO Publishing, www.ebscohost.com/

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Free Resources: CoSN IT Disaster Recovery Checklist

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) provides a free "Disaster Recovery Checklist" online at http://cosn.org/docs/CoSN%20-%20Disaster%20Recovery%20Checklist.pdf.

The 10-item list covers everything from identifying and contacting the individuals in charge of recovery efforts to contacting FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Administration), quickly re-establishing payroll, and recovering data. Explanations and tips are offered, as are links to online resources.

The checklist is provided as a courtesy by CoSN for use by all educational technology professionals.

CoSN, www.cosn.org.  

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Canvastic Version 3.5 for Macintosh and Windows Ships

Canvastic has announced the update of their Macintosh and Windows software product, Canvastic, an integrated writing, graphics, and publishing tool for students in grades K-8 to version 3.5. Developed by a former classroom teacher and computer coordinator, Canvastic was specifically designed with classroom use in mind and provides the correct mix of fun and productivity. The program allows students to publish pages, books, presentations, and more.

 

Version 3.5 continues and expands on the concept that software tools our students use to publish should be flexible. Teachers can customize their students' work environments even further than before. Many new features, refinements, and fixes are included in this release:
* Canvastic's new Audio Tool allows for voice recording, iTunes integration, and inserted sounds. The audio can be played in the document or in presentations.
* Canvastic is now a Universal Binary application for use on PPC and Intel Macintosh computers.
* Canvastic now supports transparency and color tones in its graphics and text.
* Spell checking has been improved. Teachers can enable it or not. The "Learn" button can be enabled or not. Custom words and lists can be added then locked preventing students from corrupting the user dictionary.
* New brush shapes provide more artistic control but still keep the choices to a manageable level, which is a Canvastic signature philosophy.
* Digital photographs can be included easily using the new Open Folder command. Photos come in, scale themselves to a useful size and are ready to be captioned and used.
* Templates, backgrounds, and art that support curriculum standards have been amended.

 

These additions have all been designed to work with the "Grows With the User" feature that presents a customized interface for students at any level. This enhances the publishing experience and the time on task for students.

 

This is a free upgrade for all paid registered users. Registered users that did not pay for their copy of Canvastic may upgrade for 50% of the posted educational prices. Canvastic runs natively on Windows and Macintosh computers. It is purchased and downloaded from the web site http://www.canvastic.com/support/download/. Pricing starts at $39 for a single user license. An unlimited school building license is $949. There are various lab pack prices as well.

 

Any school can continue to pilot Canvastic for up to 60 days on as many computers as desired. See this prior press release for details: www.canvastic.com/news/download/CanvasticFreeOfferPR-070305.pdf

 

Many school districts still qualify for a free site license for 50% of their schools. See this prior press release for details: www.canvastic.com/news/download/Canvastic_Grants_Licenses_2008.pdf

 

Source: Canvastic LLC, www.canvastic.com

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PASCO scientific and WeatherBug Announce Joint Content Integration Agreement

PASCO scientific and WeatherBug have announced a joint content integration agreement to combine live weather information from WeatherBug Schools’ national network of weather stations with My World GIS, a tool that enables students to visualize scientific data in a spatial context.

 

With the integrated version of My World GIS and WeatherBug Schools Program, students can conduct weather investigations using either built-in datasets or their own local data collected with PASCO’s range of PASPORT digital weather sensors. They can then compare their investigations to real-time national weather observations from any of the 8,000 weather stations and 1,500 cameras in the WeatherBug Schools Network.

 

Specifically, the integration enables students to download real-time weather information from the WeatherBug Network, organize it spatially by placing it on a map and relate it to regional and local data in My World GIS. As a result, students and teachers can develop an understanding of the dynamic nature of weather systems and the many variables that influence weather—such as latitude, longitude, altitude, time of year, pressure, ocean currents, geologic features, and more.

 

Current and future customers of both WeatherBug Schools and My World GIS will have the opportunity to evaluate the integrated software free of charge by visiting either the PASCO or WeatherBug Schools Web sites. Customers who already use My World GIS are entitled to free access to the WeatherBug data feed by downloading the latest version of the software from PASCO scientific’s Web site. Additionally, WeatherBug will bundle the My World GIS tool as part of its WeatherBug Schools offerings, which allows teachers and students to use current and historical weather conditions online through interactive lessons, activities and tools.

  

My World GIS is available from PASCO scientific in a variety of licensing models to meet the needs of educators. My World GIS runs on platforms supporting Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris. For product and licensing information on My World GIS, visit www.pasco.com/myworld.

 

For information on the WeatherBug Schools Program visit http://weatherbugschools.com.

Source: PASCO scientific, www.pasco.com

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Free Resources: AASL Offers More than $45,000 in 2009 Awards Program

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) 2009 awards program includes more than $45,000 in funding for awards to AASL members.

The nine AASL awards recognize excellence and showcase best practices in the school library media field in categories that include research, collaboration, leadership, and innovation. Applications for the awards are available online at www.ala.org/aasl/awards.

The awards include:

The National School Library Media Program of the Year (NSLMPY) Award sponsored by Follett Library Resources (one District Award, two Single School awards - $10,000 each).

The AASL Collaborative School Library Media Award sponsored by Highsmith, Inc. ($2,500).

The ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant sponsored by ABC-CLIO (up to $1,750).

The Distinguished Service Award sponsored by Baker & Taylor ($3,000).

The Distinguished School Administrator Award sponsored by ProQuest ($2,000).

The Frances Henne Award sponsored by Greenwood Publishing Group ($1,250).

The Information Technology Pathfinder Award sponsored by Follett Software Company ($1,000).

The Innovative Reading Grant sponsored by Capstone Publishers (Capstone Press, Compass Books, Children’s Library Resources, Picture Window Books, Stone Arch Books, and Red Brick Learning) ($2,500).

The Intellectual Freedom Award sponsored by ProQuest ($2,000 to the winner and $1,000 to the school library media center of the winner’s choice).

AASL, www.aasl.org

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Scholastic Education Releases Upgraded, New Editions of WiggleWorks

Scholastic has announced that WiggleWorks, its technology-based early reading program, has been re-released with new content and powerful technology upgrades.

 

WiggleWorks, a supplemental, educational technology program for Pre-K-3rd grade students, uses leveled, interactive ebooks, reading and writing activities, and explicit instruction proven through research to develop motivated, proficient readers.

 

The upgrades make WiggleWorks compatible with Microsoft Vista and Mac OS X operating systems. The new WiggleWorks is now available in two editions designed specifically for grade Pre-K-1 and grade 2-3 classrooms.

 

WiggleWorks students can have any of the program’s 84 leveled ebooks (24 are also available in Spanish) read aloud on the computer, or they can record themselves reading the stories and then play back the stories in their own voice. The new WiggleWorks also lets students write and draw responses to what they’ve read, create their own versions of the story, and play phonics games. It includes a built-in classroom management system that lets teachers customize lessons and activities for their class. Teachers can also track individual students’ progress, monitor time spent on the software, modify program options for groups or individual students and record messages to the class.

Source: Scholastic Corporation, www.scholastic.com

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NoodleTools’ NoodleBib Integrates With Pearson’s MyCompLab

NoodleTools has announced that through a partnership with Pearson Education, its NoodleBib citation and notetaking program has been seamlessly integrated into the new version Pearson’s MyCompLab writing instruction environment. From the MyCompLab composing space, a student can click the "Cite sources" link in the Writer’s Toolkit to open NoodleBib, create a source list and notecards, and then import that work directly back into the MyCompLab editor. Users will find NoodleBib a slick fit with MyCompLab’s intuitive composing space and writing instruction resources, according to the announcement.

 

NoodleBib is a powerful and accurate citation and notetaking program where students get the support they need when they need it, the announcement states. Throughout the research process students are learning to investigate analytically, think critically, articulate ideas clearly and document their evidence accurately.

 

Pearson Education’s new MyCompLab facilitates writing instruction by integrating a composing space and eportfolio with proven resources and tools. In this application, students receive feedback within the context of their own writing—encouraging critical thinking and revision while honing their skills based on individual needs. Administrative features developed specifically for writing instruction bring instructors closer to their student writers, make managing assignments and evaluating papers more efficient, and save instructors time, according to Pearson Education.

Source: NoodleTools, www.noodletools.com/

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Learning Today to Develop New Math Applets for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Learning Today, Inc., a Florida-based educational software publisher, has announced that the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has contracted the company to develop Adobe Flash-based math applets to replace the Java-based applets currently residing on NCTM’s Illuminations website (http://illuminations.nctm.org).

 

With more than 100,000 members and 230 affiliates, NCTM is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving mathematics education in prekindergarten through grade 12. The Council is a partner in the Verizon Thinkfinity Program and has received funds from Verizon Foundation in support of the Illuminations Project.

 

The project consists of several phases beginning with prototype development and concluding with the delivery of 10 Flash-based applets. During the development process, Learning Today will review objectives and perform usability testing with teachers and students in order to ensure improved performance and usability of the new applets. Learning Today will also ensure that the applets are compatible with Illuminations guidelines and consistent with NCTM’s Standards and Curriculum Focal Points.

Source: Learning Today, Inc., www.learningtoday.com

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H.W. Wilson Debuts Essay and General Literature Index Retrospective: 1900-1984

The H.W. Wilson Company is launching Essay and General Literature Index Retrospective: 1900-1984, a new resource that cites tens of thousands of essays from anthologies and other sources.

The database cites more than 249,000 essays from single and multi-author collections published in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, as well as selected annuals and serials. Each citation links to a list of other works in the collection, others by the author, others on the subject, and an entry for the source collection.

Users can search by author, subject, publication, year, and more for works by iconic literary figures, social critics, politicians, celebrities, and others on subjects in the arts, economics, education, history, law, literature, philosophy, politics, psychology, religion, science, and sociology, with particular emphasis on the humanities and social sciences.

WilsonWeb tools aid users in finding cited essays on the shelves. A library holdings indicator (linked to the library’s OPAC) lets users know where collections are located in the library. WilsonLink SFX-powered technology links to the full text of essays on any of the library’s other OpenURL-compliant databases.

A free 30-day trial is available online at www.hwwilson.com.

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

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