Blank gif
Section1
An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
Search Internet@Schools
Subscribe Today!

View Current Issue
View Past Issues
September 16, 2008

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Worldscapes Global Issues Resources
Free Resources: InspireData Webcast Examines Teaching about Close Elections
Free Resources: More WGBH Teachers' Domain Classroom Resources
Free Resources: Discovery Education’s Third Annual Online Professional Development Event
Discovery Education, Siemens Foundation, NSTA Announce National Middle School Sustainability Challenge
ISTE Webinar: Intro to Geocaching
Cool Links: Forbes Magazine Article on Innovative Learning
ITI Crosslinks: Google the Browser Builder—Chrome
Partnership for 21st Century Skills Releases “21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness” Report
Tabula Digita, Monsanto Fund, and ISTE to Develop Multiplayer, Interactive Science Video Game
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s NetSmartz Workshop Launches Back-to-School Internet Safety Campaign

Free Resources: Worldscapes Global Issues Resources

Educational publisher ETA/Cuisenaire is honoring International Literacy Day (Sept. 8) with month-long access to free resources from its new WorldScapes Global Issues book series.

Teachers can download at no charge the full text of a WorldScapes book, as well as teacher’s notes and classroom activities to accompany the book. The free material will be online at www.etacuisenaire.com through Sept. 30, 2008.

WorldScapes, designed for grades 3-8, focuses on 25 countries or global regions with a combination of fiction and nonfiction text. Six interrelated strands (global issues, social studies, language arts, history, math, and science) provide real-world applications of standards-based skills and concepts. The material provides a forum for developing critical thinking skills, discussing universal values, and integrating character education while developing comprehension, writing, vocabulary, and fluency skills.

The classroom texts are available in Spanish under the Vistas del mundo titles.

During the month of September, ETA/Cuisenaire is also offering a free WorldScapes classroom poster with any WorldScapes book order of $50 or more.

International Literacy Day is designated by the United Nations to draw attention to the fact that more than 800 million adults and children throughout the world cannot read.

ETA/Cuisenaire, www.etacuisenaire.com.  

Back to Contents...

Free Resources: InspireData Webcast Examines Teaching about Close Elections

Inspiration Software offers a free Webcast on Oct. 16 at noon Pacific time (3 p.m. Eastern time) titled "Analyzing Close Presidential Races with InspireData: How Might a Different Winner Have Changed History?"

The Webcast will show teachers how students can use InspireData software to analyze vote totals by state for past elections and consider how history might have been different if the candidate who was narrowly defeated had won the election. The lesson will help students learn more about U.S. history and the process of conducting research and analyzing data, as well as the importance of civic participation and voting.

The Webcast will also reveal the results of the Nationwide Mock Presidential Election sponsored by Inspiration Software. To participate in the mock election, students and teachers can visit http://esurvey.inspiredata.com/survey/588016 before Oct. 7 where InspireData’s eSurvey tool will be used to cast votes to select a top presidential candidate and to vote for favorite candidates on issues such as the economy, education, the environment, health care, and the war in Iraq.

InspireData, designed for students in grades 4-12, allows students to investigate, analyze, and represent data and information in graphs and charts. The program encourages students to investigate data analytically, ask more questions, and apply their understanding of data to form better conclusions and continue exploration.

Teachers can sign up for the free Web cast at https://inspiration.webex.com (click on "List of Events"). A free 30-day trial of InspireData is available online at www.inspiration.com/freetrial.

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

Back to Contents...

Free Resources: More WGBH Teachers' Domain Classroom Resources

Teachers' Domain is expanding digital media content in science, math, language arts, social studies, and art, as well as introducing two new editions: Teachers' Domain College Edition (a subset of online resources for higher education), and VITAL on Teachers' Domain (resources for New York state educators tied to the New York State Core Curriculum). Teachers' Domain is a digital library of free media online resources for teachers, and online professional development courses created by public television station WGBH.

 

First launched in 2002 with a small set of resources in science, Teachers' Domain has quickly grown. Today, Teachers' Domain has over 260,000 registered users that represent about 56% of US K-12 schools, and expanded content to more than 1,500 digital media resources that support state and national education standards. Resources are available free of charge to anyone who registers for the site.

 

New content on Teachers' Domain includes open educational resources that give users increased access to download, share, or remix for use in the classroom. This type of accessibility makes open digital media a continued trend in education because it allows teachers to access resources at any time, and engage their students in the learning process through the use of media and technology. One example is the use of interactive white boards, a teaching tool that captivates students with the touch of a screen by using their finger as a cursor. By integrating digital media resources with this technology, teachers have everything accessible in one place, and create a two-way teaching and learning connection that engages students with their fingertip.

 

Teachers' Domain website content is drawn from popular PBS shows such as NOVA, Frontline, and American Experience, and includes video and audio segments, background essays, lesson plans, discussion questions, and activities for the classroom. Resources supplement a teacher's lesson plan while addressing topics that are hard to teach.

 

Teachers' Domain digital media resources for the classroom and new editions are now available at http://www.teachersdomain.org. Teachers' Domain is a Pathways Project of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL).

Source: Teachers' Domain, www.teachersdomain.org

Back to Contents...

Free Resources: Discovery Education’s Third Annual Online Professional Development Event

Discovery Education has announced that the third annual "streamathon" has been scheduled for September 23, 2008, from 9 a.m. EST to 9 p.m. EST. This free, online professional development event is open to educators nationwide and is a service of Discovery Education, a division of Discovery Communications, whose networks include Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and the Science Channel.

 

During the 12-hour streamathon, Discovery Education experts including Hall Davidson, Steve Dembo, and Lance Rougeux will present a series of sessions on how to integrate the newest online technologies used by today's media-savvy students into classroom instruction. Among the topics slated for presentation are an introduction to streaming media, tips and tricks for integrating digital media with popular Web 2.0 websites, and strategies for incorporating free movie-making tools and multimedia PowerPoint presentations into curricula.

 

The streamathon also provides school administrators, instructional technology specialists, and professional development personnel new content for their upcoming seminars and workshops.


Educators interested in joining any portion of this free professional development opportunity should register for the 2008 streamathon at http://url.ie/mgd.streamathon. Sessions fill to capacity quickly, so participants are encouraged to register for this event immediately.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

Back to Contents...

Discovery Education, Siemens Foundation, NSTA Announce National Middle School Sustainability Challenge

The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have partnered on the "Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge," announced September 15, 2008. The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is a national K-12 sustainability education initiative aligned to education standards and tailored to match students' growing comprehension abilities throughout their school-aged years, according to the announcement.

 

Student teams from sixth through eighth grade, under the mentorship of a teacher or adult supervisor, can register for the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge at www.wecanchange.com.

 

Teams of two to three students will identify an environmental issue in their community, research the issue using scientific investigation, and create a replicable green solution using web-based curriculum tools powered by Discovery Education. The mentors of the first 100 teams to register and complete a project for the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will receive an award-winning Planet Earth series DVD set. Submissions from middle school students will be accepted through March 15, 2009. The initiative expands to elementary schools in 2009 and to high schools in 2010.


A total of 51 teams representing each state and the District of Columbia will be selected as state finalists and an additional 50 teams will be eligible for honorable mention awards. Three of the state finalist teams will be selected as national finalists, and one of those will be named the grand prize-winner. State finalist and national finalist teams will be announced in Spring 2009.

 

All student teams entering the Middle School Challenge will receive prizes for their participation; top-performing teams, as judged by a panel of environmental experts and science educators, will earn cash, teacher education materials and "Discovery Experience" trips. The grand prize winning team will receive a comprehensive prize package, which includes an appearance on Planet Green, Discovery's 24-hour eco-lifestyle network and a Discovery Adventure Trip, accompanied by a Discovery TV personality.


Hosted on a solar-powered server, the web-based Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will serve as an essential resource for both students and team advisors. Teams can take part in virtual interactive labs, share ideas through an online journal, watch Discovery Education video clips, take an environmental IQ quiz, and more. Rich environmental lesson plans also are available for teachers to use in their classrooms. More information, including entry details, registration and Frequently Asked Questions, can be found at www.wecanchange.com.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com/

Back to Contents...

ISTE Webinar: Intro to Geocaching

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) presents an "Introduction to Geocaching" Webinar on Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Mountain/3 p.m. Central/4 p.m. Eastern time.

Basically, geocaching is outdoor treasure hunting guided by GPS devices. There are estimated to be more than 653,000 active geocaches around the world. The activity has its own Web site, www.geocaching.com.

The ISTE session will focus on the use of GPS receivers and geocaching to transform classrooms into exploratory environments focused on student engagement in the learning process. Educators will learn how GPS units and geocaching can be used as multidisciplinary, inquiry-driven, field-based tools useful across the curriculum to instill in students a curiosity about geography, science, mathematics, and the world in which we live.

Webinar presenter Dr. Alice Christie will offer strategies and examples designed to illustrate the fun and challenge of geocaching as a component of active learning.

The Webinar is priced at $50 for ISTE members and $125 for non-members. A Season Webinar Pass is available for $795 for ISTE members.

ISTE, www.iste.org.

Back to Contents...

Cool Links: Forbes Magazine Article on Innovative Learning

The current issue of Forbes magazine (9/15) includes an article titled "Teaching to the New Test" written by Harvard Business School professors Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn. The article makes a case for online learning technology, provides a look at the Lexia Reading online program, and presents an interesting comparison of job training at an American automaker and at Toyota.

Christensen and Horn are the authors of a new book titled Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. The Forbes article is based on content in that book.

"Teaching to the New Test" appears online at www.forbes.com/claytonchristensen/forbes/2008/0915/081.html.

Back to Contents...

ITI Crosslinks: Google the Browser Builder—Chrome

Greg Notess, internet columnist for Information Today, Inc.’s ONLINE magazine, is on top of the launch—beta launch, that is … version 0.2—of Google’s Chrome. What, why, what’s it like … ? From his September 11, 2008 NewsBreak:

 

Within the computing realm, Google seems to be everywhere these days. Its latest effort, Google Chrome, is a brand new web browser. Competing with the market leader, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE), along with Mozilla Firefox, Apple’s Safari, and other lesser-used browsers, Google’s entry instantly generated interest among technically savvy browser users.

Why build a new browser? As Google explains, "We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications …"

Click HERE to read Greg’s entire story on Information Today, Inc.’s NewsBreaks.

Back to Contents...

Partnership for 21st Century Skills Releases “21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness” Report

Creating a 21st century education system that prepares students, workers, and citizens to triumph in the global skills race is the central economic competitiveness issue currently facing the U.S., according to a new report released by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
 
The report, "21st Century Skills, Education & Competiveness," finds that the United States, in order to be globally competitive and for states to attract growth industries and create jobs, requires a fresh approach to education that recognizes the importance 21st century skills play in the workplace. The report is sponsored by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Ford Motor Company Fund, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, and the National Education Association.
 
While the global economy has been changing, the United States has focused primarily on closing domestic achievement gaps and largely ignored the growing necessity of graduating students capable of filling emerging job sectors, according to the report. This remains a legitimate and worthy agenda but still dangerously discounts the global competitiveness issue.
 
"Equally important to the domestic achievement gap is the global achievement gap between United States students - even top-performers­ - and their international counterparts," said Paige Kuni, worldwide manager of K-12 education for Intel Corporation and chair of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. "Quite simply, for the United States to stay economically viable and remain a world leader, the country must make closing all achievement gaps a national priority."
 
Abroad, developed and competing nations have focused on imparting a different set of skills - 21st century skills -  to their graduates because these skills increasingly power the wealth of nations, the report asserts. Furthermore, businesses now require workers who can handle more responsibility and contribute more to productivity and innovation. From 1995 to 2005, the United States lost three million manufacturing jobs, but, during that same time, 17 million service-sector jobs were created. It is critical that the United States graduate students capable of filling those jobs and keeping pace with the change in skill demands, according to the report.
  
The Partnership, the leading national advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education, encourages the United States to do a better job teaching and measuring advanced, 21st century skills beyond simply assessing science and mathematics. In addition, the report outlines several actions at the national, state and local levels that the United States must implement to improve economic results and better prepare citizens to participate in the 21st century. For a full set of recommendations and the report, go to www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=82&Itemid=40

 

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, EF Education, Education Networks of America, Education Testing Service, Ford Motor Company Fund, Giant Campus, Hewlett Packard, Intel Corporation, JA Worldwide®, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, K12, LEGO Group, Learning Point Associates, Lenovo, Measured Progress, Microsoft Corporation, National Education Association, Oracle Education Foundation, Pearson, PolyVision, Scholastic Education, Sesame Workshop, THINKronize, Verizon, and Wireless Generation. Organizations interested in joining the Partnership may contact info@21stcenturyskills.org.

 

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

Back to Contents...

Tabula Digita, Monsanto Fund, and ISTE to Develop Multiplayer, Interactive Science Video Game

The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, has announced it has partnered with K-12 educational video game developer Tabula Digita and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to create an immersive video game that teaches standards-based, fundamental science concepts.

 

Under the partnership, Tabula Digita will develop and market the software to educators and consumers globally, using its expertise gained in developing the DimensionM algebra and pre-algebra video games. ISTE will provide content-rich curriculum for the web-based, interactive science games and disseminate the game to its worldwide network of educators.

 

The highlight of the new game will be a multiplayer component that will allow students to safely compete against one another or form teams and compete and collaborate with students in local communities or around the globe. With a target release at ISTE’s annual conference, NECC, in Washington DC, June 28-July 2, 2009, this multi-million dollar, dual-phase venture supports Monsanto Fund’s vision of engaging students in science through the creation of innovative science education programs, the announcement states.

 

Tabula Digita’s previous immersive educational video game offerings are designed to teach, reinforce, and creat mastery of key algebraic concepts. The simulations embed pre-algebra and algebra lessons within three-dimensional settings and help to drive student achievement and enhance student motivation, according to the announcement.

 

The first phase, including product creation and testing, will begin immediately, followed by comprehensive market testing using input from school administrators, science educators, and students.

Source: Tabula Digita, www.tabuladigita.com/

Back to Contents...

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s NetSmartz Workshop Launches Back-to-School Internet Safety Campaign

NetSmartz Workshop, an internet safety program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), has launched a back-to-school campaign to raise awareness of the importance of internet and real-world safety. With an estimated 35 million U.S. children and teen internet users online, the new NetSmartz campaign will promote resources for educators, parents, guardians, and their surrounding communities through community outreach, local promotional events, and online banner ads.

 

The new campaign will direct families and educators to the NetSmartz Back-2-School Kit, a free resource designed to help instill everyday safety values in children between the ages 5-12 that can be downloaded at www.netsmartz.org. The content includes the high-definition animated videos Way 2 Go!, Beat the Tricks!, and The Boy Who Loved IM, which are each accompanied by resources for educators, parents, and guardians including supplemental lesson plans, the new NetSmartz Activity Book and Teachable Recipes.

 

The back-to-school campaign will also promote resources for kids, by inviting them to join Club UYN at NetSmartzKids.org. The club aims to reach children through online interactions with animated NetSmartz characters, Clicky, Nettie and Webster. Club UYN features exclusive promotional items, sneak-peeks of upcoming videos, games, and activities. As part of their membership kit each child will receive, for free, an official membership card, an autographed photo of the NetSmartz characters, a secret message decoder, and an iron-on NetSmartz decal patch.

Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, www.ncmec.org

Back to Contents...
 
[Newsletters] [Home]
 
Blank gif