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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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January 06, 2009

Table of Contents

MMIS Xtra News: Internet@Schools East 2009 Conference Advance Program Now Available
Pearson Launches PowerTeacher 1.5 Web-Based Grade Book for K-12 Educators
Follett Digital Resources Signs Four More Publishers to eBook Distribution Agreements
KidPub Announces Winter 2009 Writing Contest
CDW-G and Discovery Education Open ‘Win a Wireless Lab’
Learning.com’s EasyTech Earns ISTE Seal of Alignment for NETS-S 2007
ePals and Privacy Networks Partner to Bring Legally Compliant Email Archive Solutions to K-12 Marketplace

MMIS Xtra News: Internet@Schools East 2009 Conference Advance Program Now Available

Internet at Schools East 2009 is happening next March 30 and 31 in Arlington, Virginia. The program will share Lee Rainie as keynote speaker with the concurrent and co-located Computers in Libraries conference, and will feature Johanna Riddle, Sheila Gersh, Art Wolinsky, and a host of other speakers. The Advance Program is now available online.

Here's what we're saying about it at the conference website: 

OMG!! You’re a K-12 library media specialist! In this age of the participatory, "content creationary," interactive, 2.0 Internet and all that it offers educators and students! And in the ongoing era of NCLB mandates, shrinking budgets, mushrooming lists of curriculum standards … not to mention all the new literacies — from information, to visual, to technology, to online social literacy — to teach to your students. So many tools and techniques to know! So many requirements to meet! How can you keep up? Easy!! Join us at Internet@Schools East 2009. You’ll be well served and stoked with ideas to take back to your school and media center.

Internet@Schools East 2009 is sponsored by MultiMedia & Internet@Schools magazine. Attendees of this two-day conference can also participate in the co-located Computers in Libraries conference at a reduced rate and take maximum advantage of the Computers in Libraries Exhibit Hall.

Click HERE to link to a pdf of the whole I@SE 2009 AdvanceProgram.

Source: Us right here at MMIS! http://www.mmischools.com

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Pearson Launches PowerTeacher 1.5 Web-Based Grade Book for K-12 Educators

Pearson has announced the release of PowerTeacher 1.5, the latest version of its web-based grade book for K-12 educators. With the launch of PowerTeacher 1.5, the software is now available for integrated use with Chancery SMS - Pearson's SIS solution designed specifically to meet the needs of larger K-12 districts - in addition to use with PowerSchool Premier.

As a core component of Pearson's SIS solutions, PowerTeacher 1.5 connects the teacher web portal with a web-based grade book that enables teachers to instantly access and report key student data such as attendance, student logs, demographic information, daily bulletins, communication tools, and classroom/individual assignments.

The upgraded version of PowerTeacher blends functionality with a focus on user adoption and experience, according to the announcement. PowerTeacher 1.5 introduces more than 30 unique features and usability enhancements suggested by teachers and administrators, including:

-- PowerTeacher Administrator: A new application for distributing content links (web applications, web site links, .pdf files, etc.) to teachers and managing other grade book features.
-- "What If?" final grade calculation: Now teachers can calculate a "what if" scenario without losing actual grades. Students can see how they can raise their GPA without modifying existing assignment scores or exposing data of other students in the class.
-- Customized grade scale: Teachers can customize the grade scale for special needs and other students.
-- Off-line capabilities: PowerTeacher intuitively switches into a "running-in-state" mode if your Internet or server goes down.
-- Import scores: Teachers can now export AND import scores.
-- Group filtering: Users can filter data and profile various student groups. This supports differentiated instruction and allows for quick updates with less time spent searching for individual students in specific groups.

Source: Pearson, www.pearsonschoolsystems.com/

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Follett Digital Resources Signs Four More Publishers to eBook Distribution Agreements

Follett Digital Resources has announced the signing of four additional publishers to major eBook distribution agreements. With these agreements, a total of more than 51,000 K-12 and public library titles are now available for purchase online through parent company Follett’s ecommerce sites, Titlewave (www.titlewave.com) and Titletales (www.titletales.com).

The four are Nova Press, Los Angeles, Calif.; Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y.; Temple University Press, Philadelphia, Pa.; and Zed Books Ltd., London, England. Follett eBook distribution agreements enable publishers’ digital titles to be in front of more than 60,000 schools and libraries.

Follett Digital Resources’ distribution agreements with eBook publishers have surpassed the 200 mark. According to Beau Clark, Vice President of Product Management, each enables schools and libraries to meet the needs of more students who can easily access eBooks at any hour using a computer and Internet connection.

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), such as Follett Software Company’s Destiny Library Manager, 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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KidPub Announces Winter 2009 Writing Contest

KidPub, a web site devoted to writing by children, has announced details of its Winter 2009 writing contest. The quarterly challenge gives kids aged 8 to 14 a chance to hone their writing skills as they compete for prizes with hundreds of young authors.

The topic of this quarter’s contest is A Letter To My 30-Year-Old Self. The only guidance offered is the setting: "You have found a magical time capsule that will appear in your pocket on the day that you turn 30 years old. The capsule is only large enough for a few pieces of paper folded tightly. It is your chance to communicate with your future self! What do you want to tell yourself when you are 30?"

Three winners will receive Amazon.com gift certificates, and the top prize includes a publishing package from KidPub Press that allows the winner to have their own book published and promoted. Winning entries are also featured on kidpub.com. Official rules and an entry form may be found at www.kidpub.com. The entry deadline is March 6th, 2009, and winners will be announced on March 16th, 2009.

Topics from previous contests include: My First Day as King or Queen, One Day In the Life Of a Bug, and My Summer Vacation On the Moon. The challenges are designed to give the kids a way to put their imagination into words and to have fun writing.

KidPub is devoted to promoting literacy in children by giving them a fun, safe, supportive place to express their creativity.


Source: KidPub, www.kidpub.com

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CDW-G and Discovery Education Open ‘Win a Wireless Lab’

CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G) and Discovery Education have announced the opening of the seventh annual "Win a Wireless Lab" sweepstakes. The program gives K-12 schools nationwide the opportunity to win a 21st-century classroom, complete with tablet or notebook computers, wireless cart, interactive whiteboard, student response system, projector, printer, and document camera. CDW-G and Discovery Education also provide on-site training to all Win a Wireless Lab grand-prize winners. The 2009 program will award five grand-prize winners.

 

To date, CDW-G and Discovery Education have awarded wireless computer labs to 18 schools, helping to increase teachers’ and students’ access to state-of-the-art educational technology. Nearly 70 percent of past grand-prize winners noted that teachers have developed new projects and lessons that incorporate tablet computers and other technologies into their classrooms, according to a recent survey conducted by CDW-G. Previous winners also highlighted the important role of teacher professional development in integrating technology effectively into the classroom.

  

In addition to the technology hardware included in the 21st-century classroom, Discovery Education will award a $5,000 digital media grant to the five grand-prize winning schools to help them more fully utilize the technology and engage students in learning.


The sweepstakes opened January 2, 2009 and entries will be accepted until May 1, 2009. CDW-G and Discovery Education encourage public and private school teachers, administrators and school and district technology specialists to enter by filling out an online form at http://www.discoveryeducation.com/cdwg. For each prize drawing, winners will be randomly selected from all eligible entries received.

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

Ø Discovery Education digital media grant

Ø 20 notebook or tablet computers from HP, Lenovo or Toshiba

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

Ø 1 Bretford mobile cart

Ø 1 interactive whiteboard from Promethean or PolyVision

Ø 20 Student Response Devices from Promethean or PolyVision

Ø 1 video projector from Epson or NEC Solutions

Ø 1 document camera from AVerMedia

Ø 1 laser printer from Epson or HP

Ø 1 video camcorder from Sony

 

In addition to the five grand-prize winners, CDW-G and Discovery Education will award:

Ø Ten first prizes of a video projector from Epson or NEC Solutions

Ø Ten second prizes of a notebook computer from Acer or Sony

Ø Five third prizes of a digital camcorder from Canon


Winners will be announced in July 2009. A complete list of rules is available online at http://www.discoveryeducation.com/cdwg.


Source: CDW-G, http://cdwg.com; Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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Learning.com’s EasyTech Earns ISTE Seal of Alignment for NETS-S 2007

EasyTech, a K-8 technology literacy curriculum by Learning.com, has been awarded the ISTE Seal of Alignment by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The Seal assures educators that a product or resource is in alignment with ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), refreshed in 2007 to emphasize 21st century skills. Nearly all states use NETS for Students (NETS-S) in their curriculum planning and assessment.

EasyTech provides teachers with a model to integrate 21st century skills into their core curriculum, while also providing self-paced, interactive tutorials that engage students in activities they find relevant and fun. Students feel a sense of accomplishment as they exercise critical thinking skills to authentically apply what they are learning, according to the announcement.

EasyTech’s research-based instructional design, coupled with guided practice and immediate feedback, means students gain technology skills more effectively than merely following steps through a rote exercise or lesson, the announcement states. For example, they understand how and why to apply technology skills to real-world challenges by

    * creating pie charts in spreadsheets to understand fractions of a whole,
    * organizing data in a table or line graph to identify trends or test a hypothesis,
    * outlining a writing assignment using visual mapping software, and
    * applying their understanding of social and ethical implications to their Internet use.

In its report, ISTE wrote that EasyTech "clearly supports implementation of the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S 2007) in a specific, carefully reviewed and documented manner." Additionally, the report said, "the materials on the whole were very well written and provided excellent opportunities for learning in the context of technology."

EasyTech is delivered through Learning.com’s management system that lets teachers plan and deliver technology-rich instruction and evaluate and report student progress toward technology literacy goals at the district, school, class and student levels. Because it is web-delivered, Learning.com provides seamless updates to EasyTech’s content, including a recently added "Communicating Online" unit that helps students develop their communication and collaboration skills while learning about tools such as blogs and podcasts, as well as updates that added information about portable data storage devices.

Source: Learning.com, www.learning.com

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ePals and Privacy Networks Partner to Bring Legally Compliant Email Archive Solutions to K-12 Marketplace

Privacy Networks, a unified messaging archive company, has teamed up with ePals to provide an easy to use, affordable, and legally compliant archive solution to address the problem of public records requests and litigation threats regarding email use, according to its announcement. Privacy Networks' PrivacyVault email archive is fully compatible with ePals SchoolMail, providing schools with an auditable archive of all inbound, outbound, and internal communication content.

Privacy Networks, in concert with ePals, has made fully compliant email archiving a reality for districts that are in need of a system for search, retrieval, and retention of email content. As customers continue to manage the complexities around message content driven by the increasing dependence on email, instant messaging, and voicemail, Privacy Networks' solution is simple to implement and manage, according to the announcement. The ability to have a single point of control for all archiving messaging content can save districts money and conserve resources.

Much of a district's critical information is contained within their email inboxes. With the implementation of the PrivacyVault, a district will be able to respond to the numerous open records requests through one simple search, rather than retrieving data through time consuming back-up tapes. In addition, teachers will be able to find important documents in their email, resulting in increased operational efficiency and more time dedicated to teaching.

PrivacyVault is an email archiving solution that provides users with a search engine for all their email and other electronic messages. Searches can be performed for a single PrivacyVault user retrieving their email or an administrator searching across an entire organization's email. All email can be set to a retention period that adheres to district policy.

Source: Privacy Networks, Inc., www.privacynetworks.com; ePals, Inc., www.epals.com

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