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November 25, 2008

Table of Contents

Cool Links: Librarians Want to Out-Google Google With a Better Search Engine
The 2008-2009 Inspired Visual Learning Awards
SIIA Education Division Names 2009 Board of Directors
Survey Commissioned by Thinkronize Shows More Than 85% of Principals and Teachers Want Web Resources to Help with Differentiated Instruction
Sunburst Technology Ships Type to Learn 4
ABC-CLIO Announces History Research Competition for Secondary Students
ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children Announces Exceptional Web Sites for Children
Blackboard, Project Tomorrow Publish Report Profiling Views of 'Visionary Administrators' Launches Beta for New Assessment Aligned to Refreshed ISTE Standards, 21st Century Skills
ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children Announces “Great Interactive Software for Kids” List

Cool Links: Librarians Want to Out-Google Google With a Better Search Engine

Here’s a link to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education—Wired Campus section that reports on a cool project for and by librarians and involving OCLC and the information schools of Syracuse University and the University of Washington. The concept is clever and ambitious – see the article headline! Credit where credit is due: We learned of the article, and the project, thanks to the folks at ResourceShelf, in this posting.


Click HERE to link to the Chronicle of Higher Education article.

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The 2008-2009 Inspired Visual Learning Awards

The 2008-2009 Inspired Visual Learning Awards program sponsored by Inspiration Software will recognize 15 educators and their students for creatively using visual learning in their classrooms.

To apply, educators must submit student-created examples using Inspiration Software’s visual learning software tools (Inspiration, Kidspiration, and InspireData). A link to a free 30-day trial version of each progrm is available at the contest Web site (

Three Gold Star and 12 Silver Star award winners will be selected and announced on March 31, 2009. All 15 winners will receive a new Intel-powered Classmate PC donated by Intel Corporation.

The three Gold Star winners will receive $2,500 to support professional development and/or classroom technology purchases, a 10-pack volume license for one of Inspiration Software’s visual learning software tools and supporting lesson plan books, and a six-month subscription to the Atomic Learning training resource.

The 12 Silver Star winners will receive $1,000 for professional development and/or classroom technology and a five-pack volume license for an Inspiration Software product with supporting lesson plan books.

Applications can be submitted online at until Feb. 27, 2009.

Inspiration Software,  

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SIIA Education Division Names 2009 Board of Directors

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) Education Division named its new Board of Directors for 2009.

Serving a two-year term are:

George Cigale,, Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Bridget Foster, Key Curriculum Press, Manager of Technology Products

Eileen Lento, Intel Corporation, K-12 Strategist

Sean Ryan, Scantron Corporation, Senior Vice President, K-12 Software

Jeffrey Schultz, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Vice President

Steve Siegel, Follett Corporation, Vice President, eContent Markets, Follett Digital Resources

Stuart Udell, Penn Foster, Chief Executive Officer

Duncan Young, Scholastic, Inc., Vice President, Scholastic Education Services

Appointed to a one-year term are:

Mark Hammer, CompassLearning, Vice President, Marketing

Robert Iskander, VIP Tone, Inc., Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Lee Jones, The College Board, Senior Vice President, College Readiness Programs

Liz Riley-Young, SAS Institute, Inc., Product Marketing Manager

The SIIA Education Division represents more than 150 member companies that provide software, digital content, and other technologies that address educational needs.


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Survey Commissioned by Thinkronize Shows More Than 85% of Principals and Teachers Want Web Resources to Help with Differentiated Instruction

The third annual "Schools and Generation ‘Net" survey, conducted in October 2008 by Interactive Educational Systems Design (IESD) and commissioned by Thinkronize, Inc., has been released. In the survey, more than 80% of educators expressed a need for resources that enable differentiated instruction to reach all students—based on the different reading levels, prior knowledge, interests, and learning styles students bring to the classroom.  More than 85% of those surveyed wanted access to web resources that can help accomplish this.

The survey also found that more than 70% of principals and nearly 70% of teachers expressed a need for assistance in finding resources that meet state curriculum standards. And four out of five educators agreed that they need multimedia web resources, such as digital images, video, animation, and voice, to both stimulate and motivate their students.

Survey results confirmed that the internet represents a widely used and valuable resource for K-8 students, with more than 75% of teachers reporting that they were using the it for instructional purposes on a regular basis.  And when planning and implementing instruction, about 75% of teachers and more than 85% of principals strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that student searching on the internet has been integrated into the curriculum.

However, principals and teachers have significant concerns about students’ abilities to find resources on the internet that are a good match for their instructional needs.  More than 80% were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about students finding resources with content that is neither age nor grade appropriate.  And approximately two-thirds of principals and teachers were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about students getting useless or irrelevant results when using search engines like Google or Yahoo. 

This survey of 497 principals and 796 teachers in K-8 was conducted online in October 2008.  It has a margin of sampling error of 2.7% across both types of educators. The margin of error is 3.5% for teacher findings and 4.4% for principal findings.


Source: Thinkronize,

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Sunburst Technology Ships Type to Learn 4

Sunburst Technology has shipped Type to Learn 4: Agents of Information, a comprehensive instructional keyboarding software program for students in grades K to 12. An all-new title in Sunburst’s Type to Learn software series, the program individualizes instruction with a diagnostic pre-test, personalized remediation, and modern accessibility and customization features. The new web version allows students to install the application to a home computer (either by internet download or media CD-ROM) and access their web-hosted scores any time for a seamless school-to-home connection.


The program wraps touch-type keyboarding instruction into a futuristic, 3-D animated world of adventure and information, where students are recruited as agents to help save vital information from being lost forever. Built on a research-based method of sequential, cumulative skills-building instruction, Type to Learn 4’s new curriculum provides 36 leveled lessons, with review, demonstration, practice exercises and activities, multiple formative assessments, and automatic, personalized remediation.


To help students attain keyboarding mastery, which requires effective skill transfer from the program into real-world typing environments and tasks, Type to Learn 4 incorporates real-world typing content, including historical documents, literature passages, original writing tasks, and frequently used Quick-Blends (letter blends, like ck, ill, and ed that are frequently typed and should be practiced together for faster typing) and Quick-Words (short, frequently used words i.e., him, she, and, the) in all lessons and activities.


Type to Learn 4: Agents of Information is correlated with the International Society for Technology in Education’s "NETS-S" (National Educational Technology Standards for Students). It is also mapped to every state’s keyboarding standards. 


Extensive reporting features streamline assessment for teachers. Accuracy, words-per-minute speed, and adjusted words-per-minute are tracked through all lessons and activities. Error reports give added detail on students’ successes and problem areas. Many administration options and settings make student customization easier than ever. Progress graphs and reports on lessons, activities, and assessments are available. Teachers can analyze student errors by hand, finger, and key to pinpoint problem areas. A parent report, accessed from the student login, allows parents to track their child’s progress and scores throughout the program.


Teachers can also add their own subject content into the program for students to type and have it scored automatically for accuracy and words-per-minute. Spanish ESL support provides instructions, navigation, assistance, and reinforcement in Spanish, while the keyboarding lessons and activities themselves remain in English. Accessibility options such as text-to-speech, enhanced font sizes, and font color schemes are included for students who are visually and hearing impaired.


Type to Learn 4 is sold in single, lab pack, unlimited site license, network and web versions. The unlimited school network is $799.95. Information, a free 30-day trial, a preview, and online ordering for this program are also available at


Source: Sunburst Technology,

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ABC-CLIO Announces History Research Competition for Secondary Students

ABC-CLIO has announced the launch of History Uncovered, its new annual research competition for secondary students. The developer and publisher of history research databases will award more than $60,000 in cash and prizes in this competition for teams of secondary students working in collaboration with their social studies teachers and school library media specialists.

The topic for the inaugural competition is "Select the top 10 people, events or places that have shaped the course of history." Coached by their teacher and/or school library media specialist, student teams will identify their choices and then defend them and present their research findings to ABC-CLIO in an electronic format such as a slide show, online essay, video or animation, or an audio podcast. Entries should be submitted in standards-aligned curriculum categories for high school and middle grades. For high school, the categories are U.S. History, Ancient World History, Modern World History, U.S. Government and Civics, and Geography. For middle grades, the categories are Ancient Civilizations, World History, and U.S. History and Government.

To conduct their research, teams must use and cite one or more of ABC-CLIO’s eight online history databases. For schools not currently subscribing to the databases, free access to all eight databases is available for 90 days. Entries will be judged in April 2009 by a panel of historians and history educators, and grand-prize winners will be announced in May 2009.

High school and middle grades grand-prize winning teams will receive a digital whiteboard, a $500 school site cash award, a one-year subscription to ABC-CLIO’s history databases and a student cash award for each participating team member. There will be five high school grand-prize winners and three middle grades grand-prize winners – one per curriculum-aligned category.

All grand-prize winning entries will be showcased online in the "History Uncovered Hall of Fame." In addition, two additional entries per category for both high school and middle grades teams will be awarded a place in the "Hall of Fame" and will receive school site cash awards, as well as cash awards for student team members.

To participate and be eligible for the grand prizes as well as four monthly prize drawings, teams should visit to register. More information about the competition rules and requirements is also available on that site. All entries must be submitted by March 30, 2009.

Source: ABC-CLIO,

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ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children Announces Exceptional Web Sites for Children

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, has added Web sites this fall to Great Web Sites for Kids (, its online resource containing hundreds of links to commendable Web sites for children.


Great Web Sites for Kids (GWS) features links to valuable Web sites of interest to children, organized by subject headings such as animals; literature and languages; mathematics and computers; the arts; and history and biography. There is also a special section with sites of interest to parents, caregivers and teachers, plus an area devoted to sites in Spanish. The ALSC Great Web Sites for Kids Committee maintains and updates the site.


ALSC’s GWS Committee voted to add the following sites in fall 2008:

·                     Adolescent Literacy -

·                     Bob the Builder -

·                     Career Information for Kids -

·                     The Children’s Book Review -

·                     Exploring Nature Educational Resource -

·                     The Federal Communications Commission Kids Zone –

·                     GoGooligans -

·                     The Harry Potter Lexicon -

·                     Leading to Reading -

·                     Nutrition Explorations: Kids -

·                     The Road to the Capitol/National Mock Election -

·                     Vicki Cobb’s Science Page -

·                     We Shall Overcome Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement National Register Travel Itinerary -

·                     Ziggity Zoom -

·                     ZOOM by Kids, for Kids! -


Members of the 2008 Great Web Sites for Kids Committee are: Karen Lemmons, co-chair, Howe Elementary School, Detroit; Becki Bishop, co-chair, Campbell Court Elementary School, Bassett, Va.; Amy Brown, Worthington Libraries, Columbus, Ohio; Robin Gibson, Granville, Ohio; Diana McFarland, Brunswick, Maine; Carla Morris, Provo City (Utah) Library; Marilyn Sobotincic, Medina County (Ohio) District Library; Terrell Young, Washington State University, Richland.

The complete listing of great sites with annotations and selection criteria can be found at

Source: ALA,

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Blackboard, Project Tomorrow Publish Report Profiling Views of 'Visionary Administrators'

Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow, a national nonprofit group, have released a report highlighting the emergence of "visionary administrators," a new breed of school superintendents and principals who are leveraging new technologies to meet the learning goals and preferences of increasingly tech-savvy students.


A 2007 survey by Project Tomorrow found that while 74 percent of sixth through 12th-grade students believe that good technology skills are important to future success, about half say that their school is not adequately preparing them for 21st century jobs.


To better understand administrator attitudes about technology and learning, Project Tomorrow surveyed school leaders in 2007. While responses generally confirmed the digital disconnect, one group seemed to be bridging the gap. Like the students they serve, visionary administrators championed the use of technology, including Web 2.0 tools, blogs, and wiki entries, to expand the reach of the classroom and more effectively engage students.


The report, Leadership in the 21st Century: The New Visionary Administrator, contains profiles of nine education leaders representing four school districts and three schools to highlight their success in leveraging technology in the classroom.


The findings of Leadership in the 21st Century are based upon data collected as part of Speak Up 2007, a survey of more than 365,000 students, teachers, parents and administrators representing nearly 3,800 public and private K-12 schools in the United States. Highlights from the Speak Up data and subsequent interviews with visionary administrators include:

-- Almost all visionary administrators (93 percent) believe that using technology improves student achievement.

-- Over half of all visionary administrators say that they would provide or expand online courses to keep students engaged in school. Seventy-three percent of visionary administrators report that integrating mobile devices will increase student engagement.

-- On average, visionary administrators are 40 percent more likely than their peers to select student response systems, Web 2.0 tools, school portals and games/virtual simulations as important features of a 21st century classroom.


Leadership in the 21st Century is the latest in a series of in-depth reports based on the Speak Up data findings and supported by Blackboard. Since 2003, more than 1 million students have participated in Speak Up surveys. Currently, students, teachers, parents and school leaders are participating in the Speak Up 2008 survey that will run through December 19.


Leadership in the 21st Century is available for download at

Source: Blackboard Inc.,

Back to Contents... Launches Beta for New Assessment Aligned to Refreshed ISTE Standards, 21st Century Skills has begun a beta administration for its new 21st century skills assessment that aligns to the "refreshed" 2007 ISTE NETS-S standards, and includes a portfolio assessment.


More than 3,000 students nationwide are being assessed with’s newest assessment, designed to go beyond assessing whether students are proficient using technology tools. The new psychometrically valid assessment focuses on student proficiency in 21st century skills, including creativity, collaboration, the ability to demonstrate information fluency, practice safe and legal use of technology, and troubleshoot systems and applications, among others. The assessment is aligned to the 2007 refresh of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S).


The final assessment will be released in early 2009 and will include:
* elementary and middle schools versions
* a blend of multiple choice, knowledge-based questions and interactive, performance-based questions
* project-based portfolio assessment and rubrics for teachers to score student responses,
* both pre  and post assessments
* multiple levels of proficiency reporting
* reports at the district, school, class and student levels.

For statewide implementations, the assessment provides aggregated reporting for students in every district in which it is administered.


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ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children Announces “Great Interactive Software for Kids” List

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has selected its Fall 2008 list of Great Interactive Software for Kids (GISK), which recognizes high-quality computer programs and digital media for children 14 years of age and younger.


The selected products are:

·                     Beep, Tool Factory.

·                     GollyGee Blocks: 3-D Modeling for Kids , GollyGee Software, Inc.

·                     LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Lucasarts Entertainment.

·                     Mastering Elementary School , Weekly Reader Corp.

·                     Mastering Elementary and Middle School Math, Weekly Reader Corp.

·                     Nancy Drew and the Phantom of Venice Her Interactive


Members of the Great Interactive Software for Kids Committee are: Angelique Kopa, chair, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, Md.; Kim Bautz, Dayton (Ohio) Metro Library; Michelle Call, Hester J. Hodgdon Librarians for All Program, Somerville, Mass.; Kirsten Freeman-Benson, West Slope Community Library, Portland, Ore.; Anna R. Healy, Rochelle Lee Fund, Chicago; and Becky White, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Ind.


For the annotated list of Fall 2008 Great Interactive Software for Kids, including recommended age ratings, visit the ALSC Web site at:


Source: ALA,

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