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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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October 14, 2008

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Discovery Ed’s New Teacher Survival Central
Follett Digital Resources Signs Four Publishers to eBook Distribution Agreements
CoSN Launches 2008-2009 Webcast Series
NSBA Center For Public Ed Receives Pew Grant
Cool Links: Guiding the Gifted to Honest Work
CyberPatrol Releases Online Safety Video Series
Discovery Education and 3M Announce Winners of Young Scientist Challenge
Cool Links: Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers
Free Resources: Wiggio.com Collaboration Tools
ISTE and CoSN Issue Joint Statement Hailing Passage of Internet Safety Education Legislation

Free Resources: Discovery Ed’s New Teacher Survival Central

Discovery Education recently launched New Teacher Survival Central, a new Web site and partnership with Walden University, mimio, Adobe Systems, Inc., Elmer’s Products, Inc., and CDW-G.

The site contains classroom tools designed to support educators new to the teaching profession. The online tips, tricks, and suggestions include classroom management techniques, ideas for connecting classroom activities to the curriculum, lesson plans, peer-networking resources, tools to create engaging learning centers, and more.

The Technology 101 area of the site provides information on how educational technologies promote student engagement in learning and what tools are available for use in the classroom. The Tech Tools For Students section highlights free K-12 student resources. Also offered are a variety of interactive games, virtual labs, and lessons.

The Homeroom Headquarters section links to classroom management resources. The Survival Took Kit: Best of the Web area links to online tools including blogs, tutorials, curricular resources, and educational media outlets.

The New Teacher Survival Central site is offering $50,000 in weekly prizes until Jan. 31, 2009. One first-year educator will be chosen from all of the entries to win a grand prize package that includes five mimio interactive systems, 10 copies of Adobe Systems’ Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements Bundle, a color laser printer from CDW-G, a $2,000 Elmer’s Products Creativity Collection, and $5,000 in multimedia resources from Discovery Education.

New Teacher Survival Central is online at www.discoveryeducation.com/newteacher.

Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com.

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Follett Digital Resources Signs Four Publishers to eBook Distribution Agreements

Follett Digital Resources has announced the signing of four additional publishers to eBook distribution agreements, bringing to 46,900 the total number of K-12 and public library titles available for purchase online through parent company Follett’s ecommerce sites, Titlewave (www.titlewave.com) and Titletales (www.titletales.com).

The four are: Tyndale House Publishers of Carol Stream, Ill., Compendium Publishing of London (UK), Trudy Corporation - Sound Prints of Norwalk, Conn., and WestEd of Los Alamitos, Calif. The agreements mean these publishers’ digital titles now are in front of 60,000 schools and libraries.

The Follett Digital Resources eBook distribution system uses four key pieces of technology to deliver eBooks:

- Virtual Warehousing - Where eBooks reside until sold to a Follett school or library customer

- Preview - Technology that allows buyers and patrons to preview pages of an eBook prior to purchase

- Digital Rights Management - Technology ensuring that intellectual property is protected as eBooks are distributed and viewed

- Virtual Shelves - Where eBooks are poised for checkout and reading by patrons once purchased by Follett school and public library customers

When a school or library buys an eBook title from Follett Digital Resources, the title is moved to a virtual shelf where it resides until it is checked out by a school or library patron. Digital rights management technology ensures that once a title is checked out by one person, it can’t be checked out by anyone else until it has been returned to the virtual shelf. Where possible, the eBook distribution system is tightly connected with leading integrated library systems (ILS), allowing searching, accessing and returning eBooks to become part of the library’s standard circulation process.

Source: Follett Digital Resources, www.follettdigital.com

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CoSN Launches 2008-2009 Webcast Series

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) launches its fourth annual Webcast series on Oct. 15. The series provides an online professional development tool for education technology leaders in schools and school districts across the country.

The Webcast series begins with a 60-minute interactive presentation titled "The Growing Disconnect Between Educators and Students Around Technology." The session focuses on the "Speak Up 2007" findings that reveal growing differences among students, teachers, and parents on the role of technology in education.

Upcoming Webcast sessions include:

What Superintendents Need from YOU, the Technology Leader – Nov. 19, 2008

Major Technology Trends that School District CTOs Must Know – Dec. 10, 2008

Long Tail Learners: How Technology Transforms Learning – Jan. 21, 2009

Hot Technology Trends – April 15, 2009

Web 2.0 in Education: Policies and Leadership – May 13, 2009

The Webcasts are conducted on Wednesdays from 1-2 p.m., eastern time. Participation is free for CoSN members; nonmembers pay $59 per Webcast.

CoSN, www.cosn.org

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NSBA Center For Public Ed Receives Pew Grant

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Center for Public Education (CPE) received a two year $447,000 grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to build upon an initiative to engage school boards in support of high quality voluntary Pre-Kindergarten education.

The new funding will enable CPE to add two new partners to its Pre-K network—the Alabama Association of School Boards and the Kentucky School Boards Association. For the past two years, CPE has partnered with the state school board associations of Kansas, Ohio, and Texas to inform local school board members, state policymakers, and the public about the benefits of Pre-K education and effective Pre-K policies and programs.

CPE’s Pre-K initiative has helped raise school board visibility in early education policy discussions in the partner states. The initiative is also making school board members across the nation more aware of the benefits of Pre-K education.

The Center for Public Education provides information and research on the challenges and successes in K-12 public education.

CPE, www.centerforpubliceducation.org.

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Cool Links: Guiding the Gifted to Honest Work

Plagiarism remains a big, and growing, concern in school settings, as we all know. Teaching ethical use of information in the age of the cut-and-paste research database that is the World Wide Web is a challenge. We think the article "Guiding the Gifted to Honest Work," which appears in the Duke Gifted Letter, captures a lot of the causes of plagiarism, and, more important, logically presents a number of very sensible strategies for preventing it. From the article:

One of the most important ways to combat academic dishonesty is to avoid assignments that lack critical thinking and inquiring learning. Library "reports" ostensibly are assigned to afford students practice doing research … or building knowledge, but they fail in all of these objectives …

 

If the task is superficial, gifted students respond sensibly; they do little thinking, expend the least effort possible, and take short-cuts like cut-and-paste plagiarism with the aim of getting the assignment done rather than investigating an idea or subject…

 

Two subheads in the article should also pull you in: The School Librarian as Partner, and Strategies that Foster Academic Honesty.

 

While the article discusses gifted students, by the way, it’s topical and relevant to all students, especially at the secondary level.

Click HERE to read "Guiding the Gifted to Honest Work."

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CyberPatrol Releases Online Safety Video Series

CyberPatrol LLC has announced its Online Safety Video Series, to coincide with National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The series of brief family-oriented lessons, available at http://www.cyberpatrol.com/safetyseries.asp, provides parents, educators, and others with advice on how to protect children from predators, cyber bullies, inappropriate material, and other online threats.

 

The series features internet safety and technology expert, lecturer, and author Linda Criddle, president of LOOKBOTHWAYS, Inc., a company that consults with state and national governments, law enforcement agencies, and other organizations on issues of online safety. In addition to consulting, Criddle operates an Internet safety website (www.look-both-ways.com) and is the author of Look Both Ways: Help Protect Your Family on the Internet, about how families can stay safer online.

 

Online Safety Videos released during the month of October include:

· Discussing Internet Safety Guidelines in a Positive and Collaborative Way

· Exposing Private Information-Things You Can Do To Be Safer

· Careful Where you Click-Family Safety Online

· Protecting Kids on Social Networks

 

CyberPatrol produces CyberPatrol Parental Controls 7.7 and other Web filtering software. All its products are powered by CyberPatrol’s SiteCAT technology.

Source: CyberPatrol, LLC, www.cyberpatrol.com

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Discovery Education and 3M Announce Winners of Young Scientist Challenge

Discovery Education and 3M have announced "America's Top Young Scientist" and "America's Top Science Teacher" - winners of the 2008 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge (YSC). Melissa Rey of Chesterfield, Mo., was selected as the grand prize winner of the student competition, capturing the prestigious title and $50,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds ($25,000 cash value). Edward Evans from Welch, W.Va., was named top teacher, winning a $5,000 cash prize, the Discovery Education multimedia service suite (video-based learning products for the classroom), and numerous products from 3M to be used throughout the school year.

 

On October 5-6, 2008, ten students and five teachers were challenged to defy gravity, bend light and more at the YSC finals held at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center located near Washington, D.C. Presented with multiple rounds of space-themed challenges, students and teachers were evaluated by a panel of judges on their science skills and their ability to share scientific knowledge with others both in-person and on-camera. The judging panel consisted of Steve Jacobs - an accomplished scientist, educator and author, along with several 3M scientists and NASA representatives, including a former astronaut. All ten student finalists will be featured in a Science Channel special airing January 18, 2009.

 

By advancing to the finalist round of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, all student finalists were awarded a $1,000 cash prize, a personalized competition medal, an assortment of 3M products, and full Discovery Channel DVD sets, including the acclaimed PLANET EARTH series. Further, each student finalist received the following top individual prize:

- Avni Bavishi from Hoffman Estates, Ill., won the Discovery Health "Forensics Camp" prize, allowing her to travel to Union College in upstate New York to experience the job of a crime scene investigator.

- Margaret Botros from Wichita, Kan., won the Lowell Observatory "Star Gazer" prize, allowing her to get a behind-the-scenes look at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.

- Shyamal Buch from Folsom, Calif., (first runner-up) won the Overbrook "Entertainment Award" prize, allowing him a behind-the-scenes visit to the set of an upcoming Overbrook Entertainment film (past films include I, Robot, The Pursuit of Happyness, I Am Legend and Hitch).

- Megan Gleason from Tucson, Ariz., won the Science Channel "Takes You to the BRINK" prize, allowing her to travel to New York City to meet world-renowned theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku and appear on Science Channel's new series BRINK.

- Michael Koehler from Allison Park, Pa., won the National Park Service "Space to Sea Adventure" prize, allowing him to see a shuttle launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center and assist National Park Service biologists at Canaveral National Seashore.

- James Kruse from Brighton, Minn., won the Discovery Channel "Amazing Inventions" prize, allowing him to travel to San Francisco's Treasure Island to meet the expert engineers featured on Discovery Channel's PROTOTYPE THIS.

- Peter Ku from Princeton Junction, N.J., (second runner-up) won the 3M "Innovation" prize, allowing him a one-day visit to 3M's global headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., to meet 3M scientists and tour 3M's state-of-the-art labs and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

- Mathew McGuthry from Richmond Hill, Ga., won the Animal Planet "Whale Watch" prize, allowing him to join Animal Planet's chief ocean correspondent Philippe Cousteau Jr. on a whale watching expedition.

- Jack Uesugi from Wahiawa, Hawaii, won the Discovery Commerce "Reach for the Stars" prize, awarding him a state-of-the-art Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope.

 

In addition, all the teacher finalists - Edward Evans from Welch, W.Va., Lania Ho from Melbourne, Fla., Paul Kuhlman from Avon, S.D., Steve Latshaw from Westlake Village, Calif., and Philip Pack from Kingston, Pa. - returned home with a $1,000 cash prize, a competition medal, full Discovery Channel DVD sets, and numerous products from 3M to be used throughout the school year. Also, during the competition, Paul Kulhman was named South Dakota teacher of the year.

 

In its 10th year, the YSC introduced a new entry mechanism for students, challenging their ability to innovatively use everyday technology to communicate basic scientific concepts. From camcorders to cell phones, YSC competitors chose any technology available to create two-minute videos demonstrating their understanding of scientific concepts surrounding "The Science of Space" theme, including the Doppler Effect, a Parabola, Why Earth's Sky Appears Blue, Orbital Paths, Magnetic Fields, the Bernoulli Principle and the Venturi Effect. Entries were evaluated on students' ability to understand and effectively communicate the meaning of their chosen concept, not on the sophistication of their video production. The competition was open to all middle school students across the country.


This year, Discovery Education and 3M added a teacher component to the competition that follows the same premise as the student challenge. With the goal of finding the nation's top science teacher, the YSC challenged teachers to make their own videos explaining space-related concepts, including Newton's Laws of Motion, Acceleration, Aeronautics, Centrifugal and Centripetal Force, and Scope and Scale.

 

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryed.com

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Cool Links: Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers

In "Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers," an article in the New York Times book section, writer Motoko Rich looks into the concept of using video games to promote reading, and who’s getting on board (educators, librarians, authors, publishers) with it. From the article:

Increasingly, authors, teachers, librarians and publishers are embracing this fast-paced, image-laden world in the hope that the games will draw children to reading.

Spurred by arguments that video games also may teach a kind of digital literacy that is becoming as important as proficiency in print, libraries are hosting gaming tournaments, while schools are exploring how to incorporate video games in the classroom.

Click HERE to link to the article at the New York Times online.

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Free Resources: Wiggio.com Collaboration Tools

Wiggio has announced the launch of Wiggio.com, a website designed to help students to work in groups. Wiggio was developed specifically for the student market and the functionalities were chosen based directly on student input.

 

Wiggio’s free, web-based tools allow students to manage and keep track of all of their groups from one place. The site’s features and functions are what students want and need to be able to work effectively in groups, the announcement states. Features include the following:

 

§         Messaging—Send mass text messages, emails, and voice messages to group members.

§         Calendar—Shared calendar keeps track of all group meetings, events, deadlines, etc. Opt in to get text message and email reminders about upcoming events.

§         Folder—Access and save documents in one place and avoid the hassle of sending attachments back and forth.

§         Meeting—Set up free group conference calls or group chat sessions.

§         Polling—Get group members' opinions quickly and easily.

   

Wiggio is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company founded in 2008 by a team of entrepreneurs and technology experts. Created for students by students, Wiggio hopes to change the way students work in groups by creating an easier and more efficient way for students to collaborate and communicate.

Source: Wiggio, www.wiggio.com

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ISTE and CoSN Issue Joint Statement Hailing Passage of Internet Safety Education Legislation

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) have announced they are extremely pleased that on October 1, 2008, Congress passed, as part of S. 1492, an update to the Children's Internet Protection Act which requires schools participating in the E-Rate program to educate students regarding appropriate behavior on social networking and chat room sites and about cyberbullying. ISTE and CoSN have advocated for this approach for many years and are pleased that Congress has now ratified their position. Education, not mandatory blocking and filtering, is the best way to protect and prepare America's students, the two organizations assert.

 

Directly from the joint statement from ISTE and CoSN:

We must single out for particular praise today Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Co-Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) for introducing the Internet safety education language in separate legislation and working tirelessly to ensure its inclusion in S. 1492. We also appreciate the efforts of Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), who introduced the very same language on the House side.

 

Both CoSN and ISTE believe that the Internet contains valuable content, collaboration and communication opportunities that can and do materially contribute to a student's academic growth and preparation for the workforce. However, we recognize that students need to learn how to avoid inappropriate content and unwanted contacts from strangers while online. In our view, educating students on how to keep themselves safe while online is the best line of defense because no technological silver bullet has yet been devised that will guarantee that students are effectively protected. Therefore, we embrace wholeheartedly the thoughtful approach that S. 1492 takes, particularly the flexibility that it affords districts on determining how best to educate students about staying safe online.

 

Congress' passage of S. 1492 represents real progress in the area of Internet safety and we urge President Bush to sign it into law.

 

Source: The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), www.iste.org; The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), www.cosn.org

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