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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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February 17, 2009

Table of Contents

Cool Links: In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update
Learning.com Joins the Partnership for 21st Century Skills
World Book Announces New Gran Enciclopedia Hispánica
Britannica Brings Great Books of the Western World to E-Book Format
Maryland Public Television, MIT Education Arcade, FableVision Launch Lure of the Labyrinth Online Math Game
Turning Technologies Announces Integration of Their Student Response System with Study Island’s State Standards Assessment Application
Tabula Digita Introduces New DimensionM Multiplayer 2.0 Educational Video Games for Math Skills
Best Practices Videos from The School Improvement Network Added to PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection for Coaches and Mentors
New Time-Saving Features Debut on Discovery Education streaming
Turning Technologies Unveils New K-12 Programs and Services

Cool Links: In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update

The school library world is abuzz about an article that appeared in the New York Times today. Touting and clearly illustrating the importance of the new role school library media specialists are playing today, the article came about in part thanks to a good deal of effort from the ALA and AASL. At the moment, it stands at the top of the Most Popular list on the Times' web site and is one of the featured video reports on the home page. From the story:

 

… Ms. Rosalia [school librarian at New York City’s Public School 225] is part of a growing cadre of 21st-century multimedia specialists who help guide students through the digital ocean of information that confronts them on a daily basis. These new librarians believe that literacy includes, but also exceeds, books…

 

Click HERE to read "In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update" at the New York Times online.

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Learning.com Joins the Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Learning.com has joined the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The Partnership brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a vision for 21st century education to ensure every child's success as citizens and workers.

 

Candace Petersen, Learning.com's President and Chief Operating Officer, serves on the Partnership's board of directors.

 

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a unified, collective vision for 21st century learning that is intended to be used to strengthen American education. The Partnership’s Framework for 21st Century Learning describes the skills, knowledge and expertise it believes students must master to succeed in work and life. These include six key elements of a 21st century education that are reflected in Learning.com's solutions: core subjects, 21st century content, learning and thinking skills, information and communications technology, life skills, and 21st century assessments.

 

Learning.com, founded in 1999, helps educators improve student performance in core curriculum and 21st century skills through Web-delivered curriculum and assessment, in use by more than two million students. These solutions include:
* 21st Century Skills Assessment - A valid assessment for elementary and middle school students aligned to the ISTE NETS-S 2007 standards.
* TechLiteracy Assessment - Performance- and knowledge-based assessment that provides valid data on how well students grasp critical technology skills.
* EasyTech - K-8 technology literacy curriculum that makes it easy for teachers to effectively integrate technology into math, science, language arts and social studies.
* Aha!Math - K-5 online supplemental math curriculum that helps students build fluency and contextual understanding of critical math skills.

 

For more information, please visit www.learning.com.

 

Source: Learning.com, www.learning.com

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World Book Announces New Gran Enciclopedia Hispánica

World Book, Inc. has announced the launch of Gran Enciclopedia Hispánica , a comprehensive online Spanish-language encyclopedia designed for native Spanish speakers, bilingual students, and ESL/ELL (English as a second language/English language learners). Offered as part of the World Book Web of online reference resources, Gran Enciclopedia Hispánica was created through a partnership with Hispánica Saber, a Spanish-language publisher.

 

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Hispanics comprise about 15 percent of the total U.S. population and that 35 million individuals nationwide speak Spanish in their homes. 

 

Written from a Latin American perspective, Gran Enciclopedia Hispánica includes more than 100,000 articles. It offers broad coverage of all fields of knowledge with a special emphasis on science, technology, history, and art topics. Among its learning enhancement and re-enforcement features are:

• Special sections that highlight curriculum-related topics of study and encourage students to further explore;

• Tens of thousands of biographies that can be accessed through the search engine or directory;

• An interactive atlas that offers thousands of maps with information on all countries of the world;

• More than 9,000 illustrations, videos, animations, and sounds, which contribute to language comprehension;

• A timeline feature that helps students develop a historical perspective through interactive research;

• An extensive library of educational resources, which include a homework help area and a collection of interactive learning activities;

• A visual navigation tool that helps students not proficient in Spanish find the topic they need; and

• A dictionary to help clarify meaning and expand students' vocabularies.

 

In addition to Gran Enciclopedia Hispánica, the World Book Web also includes Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgos. This beginning-level Spanish encyclopedia site includes thousands of articles, illustrations, and maps, and an easy-to-use, bilingual interface.

 

Gran Enciclopedia Hispánica is available as a standalone subscription or an addition to an existing World Book Web subscription. A special discount is available to schools and libraries adding Gran Enciclopedia Hispánica to any other World Book Web subscription. Gran Enciclopedia Hispánica is available now from World Book's school and library sales force (800-975-3250 in the U.S. or 800-837-5365 in Canada) or from World Book's dedicated school and library ordering site at www.worldbookonline.com/sales.

Source: World Book, Inc., www.worldbook.com

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Britannica Brings Great Books of the Western World to E-Book Format

Great Books of the Western World, the 60-volume set of classics published by Encyclopaedia Britannica, is now available to libraries, universities and schools in electronic form and distributed exclusively through Ingram Digital’s MyiLibrary aggregated e-book platform.

 

Fully searchable and interlinked, the electronic-book edition of the set enables readers to find anything in the corpus with a keyword search, making it easier to navigate and conduct research on the contents of the set, in addition to reading in the conventional way, according to the announcement.

 

The product also contains a complete set of hypertext links between the Syntopicon, the two-volume idea index to the Great Books, and the places in the main text that the Syntopicon entries refer to.

 

The Syntopicon is a distinctive reference tool organized around a list of 102 "Great Ideas" developed by the late philosopher Mortimer J. Adler. It enables readers to move among the works of great authors such as Homer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and others, and navigate through the threads of particular concepts, such as happiness, liberty, and truth, reviewing and comparing the specific things each author had to say about them. The links from the Syntopicon entries to their targets in the books themselves allow readers to move about the set quickly and easily, without having to move between physical volumes.

 

Students and faculty at subscribing institutions and patrons of subscribing libraries will be able to access the Great Books from their home computers as well as at the institutions themselves. They’ll be able to print out portions for easy reading.

 

Great Books of the Western World was first published in 54 volumes by Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., in 1952. That first edition was edited by Robert Maynard Hutchins, then chancellor of the University of Chicago, and Mortimer J. Adler. The second, current edition, revised by Adler to include more recent works, was published in 60 volumes in 1990. The current set includes 517 of the most important works in literature, history, philosophy, and science from the past 25 centuries. The electronic e-book edition of the Great Books contains the same contents as the printed version.

 

Schools or libraries interested in Great Books of the Western World e-book edition can go to http://info.eb.com for more information.

Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., http://info.eb.com/

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Maryland Public Television, MIT Education Arcade, FableVision Launch Lure of the Labyrinth Online Math Game

Maryland Public Television (MPT), in collaboration with MIT's Education Arcade and education media producer FableVision, has announced the launch of Lure of the Labyrinth, an online pre-algebra middle school math game developed to reach today's tech-savvy students in a contemporary new way. The organizations have applied the latest research in game theory and cutting-edge design to produce a powerful, free learning tool to help all students learn regardless of their math ability, according to the announcement.

 

Lure of the Labyrinth can be accessed free of charge at Thinkport.org (www.thinkport.org), MPT's K-12 education web site.

 

Using the immersive characteristics of digital games, Labyrinth blends a storyline with multi-level puzzle play to build pre-algebra skills in several core areas: proportions - fractions and ratios; variables and equations; and numbers and operations.

 

An underground monster-inhabited world comes to life as students plunge into a shadowy factory on a compelling rescue mission. Taking on a monster persona (avatar), students disguise themselves as "insiders" to maneuver through math problems and ultimately rescue their missing pet.

 

Labyrinth can be played individually or in teams, and was created to give all students a chance to learn and succeed. An online communication device allows players to exchange ideas and game strategies and encourages collaborative game play while building 21st century skills.

 

MIT Education Arcade Creative Director Scot Osterweil led the design team incorporating fundamental elements of a good learning game. "Effective games allow students to succeed through trial and error. They learn to use the feedback from short-term setbacks to achieve success," explains Osterweil. "In the process they construct a deeper understanding of the math concepts."

 

A team of Maryland middle school teachers worked alongside MPT from project inception to advise, learn, and test the game at each stage of development. The game web site provides comprehensive educator materials to support teaching (especially for those reluctant non-gamers) before, during, and after game play. The materials provide a detailed "how to" for every aspect of the game along with suggested small- or large-scale classroom implementation.

 

For more information about Lure of the Labyrinth and project partners go to:

Lure of the Labyrinth, http://labyrinth.thinkport.org/
MIT Education Arcade, www.educationarcade.org
FableVision, www.fablevision.com

 

Project funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education Star Schools Program, www.ed.gov/programs/starschools/index.html.

Source: Maryland Public Television, www.mpt.org

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Turning Technologies Announces Integration of Their Student Response System with Study Island’s State Standards Assessment Application

Turning Technologies, LLC, has announced the availability of seamless integration of their student response technology with Study Island’s web-based state standards assessment system, creating a formative assessment solution for K-12 educators.

 

Using Study Island in partner with Turning’s ResponseCard wireless clickers, educators allow every student in their class to answer assessment questions in real time. Student responses are immediately sent to Study Island where the aggregate class data is viewed in a dynamic chart and results are automatically recorded for later analysis.  This integration will allow K-12 educators to gauge the comprehension of every student in the class and determine learning gaps immediately, according to the announcement.

 

Student response systems engage students in active learning as well as help teachers quickly identify students in need of remediation, the announcement states.  Use of student clickers will be beneficial to classrooms with limited computers as the ResponseCards allow all students to become actively involved in classroom lessons.

 

Study Island records statistics for each student using multiple real-time reports, which helps teachers measure student progress and identify areas needing improvement. The integration of Turning’s ResponseCard clickers makes Study Island an extremely flexible, user-friendly, interactive program, according to the announcement.

 

Turning Technologies’ customers are eligible for a special 30-day, free trial offer of Study Island’s assessment content. The trial includes full access to all subjects and topics (with correlating standards) that are available for each grade level in the school.

 

Source: Turning Technologies, LLC, www.turningtechnologies.com

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Tabula Digita Introduces New DimensionM Multiplayer 2.0 Educational Video Games for Math Skills

Tabula Digita has announced DimensionM Multiplayer 2.0 educational video games for math.  Set to be released this quarter, the new DimensionM Multiplayer 2.0 features expanded curriculum content with more than 200 math skills presented via immersive, action-packed simulations for students in grades 3-12. According to a study conducted by the University of Central Florida last year, immersive educational video games can improve students’ mathematics understanding and skills, and significantly raise scores on district-wide math benchmark exams.

 

Like its predecessor, Multiplayer 2.0 offers three distinct missions. In each game, students face numerous mathematical obstacles that require knowledge of content and swift reaction to successfully navigate through a series of mazes to score the most points.  As they compete, each student builds upon basic skills like multiplication, division, and fractions, which in later years will lead to mastery of everything from proportions, number lines, and adding and subtracting integers, to order of operations, evaluating expressions, employing function tables, and solving complex equations.

 

The new Multiplayer 2.0 gives students the ability to create their own avatar.  It will include "in game" reports that reflect a summary along with information about students’ performance and mastery of concepts.   Students' and teachers' access to the various reports, will allow for better communication, collaboration and goal setting.

 

The new video game series is available on both Windows and Macintosh platforms, with all lessons or missions correlated to National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and a variety of state standards. There are several purchase options available for schools and districts to consider when purchasing the new DimensionM games. For more information visit www.dimensionm.com.

 

Source: Tabula Digita, www.dimensionm.com

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Best Practices Videos from The School Improvement Network Added to PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection for Coaches and Mentors

PBS TeacherLine has partnered with The School Improvement Network to incorporate new content into PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection that helps teachers turn research theory into classroom practice. PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection is an online suite of multimedia resources, instructional strategies, and tools that support educators responsible for providing onsite, job-embedded professional development to their peers.

Award-winning videos, articles, and other resources from PD 360, a leading on-demand professional development resource, and The Video Journal of Education will be added to PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection in early 2009. Topics covered in the materials include coaching, classroom management, instructional strategies, and assessment. All of the content is research-based and classroom-proven. The School Improvement Network has worked with top instructional experts such as Rick Stiggins, David Sousa, Doug Reeves, Rick DuFour, and Michael Fullan, and identified the very best teachers, no matter where they are located, to develop videos of best practices, the announcement states. There are real classroom examples from elementary and secondary schools located in urban, suburban, and rural areas.


PBS TeacherLine combines online communication and collaboration with trusted, valuable content. Featuring thousands of research-based, standards-aligned content in K-12 math, reading and instructional technology, PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection is designed to enable instructional coaches, teacher leaders, and mentors to augment their current professional development programs and create a customized, practical learning experience for teachers. PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection offers modules for school-based professional developers to learn about the interventions they are sharing and how to employ the coaching and mentoring process productively to provide effective teacher professional development.

 

For more information about PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection, visit www.pbs.org/peerconnection. To learn more about The School Improvement Network, go to www.schoolimprovement.com.

Source: PBS TeacherLine, www.pbs.org/teacherline

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New Time-Saving Features Debut on Discovery Education streaming

Discovery Education has announced several key upgrades to Discovery Education streaming. The digital video-based learning resource now features an enhanced landing page that allows users to access all Discovery Education services, preview new additions to the media library, encourages customization and personalization, and more.

 

The new Discovery Education streaming landing page, "My Discovery Education" ("My DE"), allows the more than 1 million users to access their Discovery Education services.  The "My DE" page presents educators with the newest additions to their Discovery Education media library, helping them identify and use new content added to the service's library of more than 5,000 videos and 50,000 video clips.

 

In addition, "My DE" empowers educators to personalize their Discovery Education experience based on their classroom needs and interests.  Educators using the services can choose to add calendars customized by subject matter, blog headlines and more to their "My DE" homepage.  The web page also provides quick links to district, school, and other saved media, assignments and quizzes across all Discovery Education services to which they subscribe.

 

Finally, the "My DE" page now includes one central location from which educators can view and register for Discovery Education's Professional Development opportunities.  Led by nationally-renowned presenters, such as Hall Davidson, Steve Dembo, Lance Rougeux, and Jannita Demian, Discovery Education's Professional Development Team each year works with tens of thousands of educators to help improve student achievement with the latest educational technology resources.


For more information on Discovery Education streaming, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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Turning Technologies Unveils New K-12 Programs and Services

Turning Technologies, LLC, has unveiled several new programs and services geared toward assisting K-12 educators and schools meet the rising challenges of state testing. 

 

Educational Consulting Programs
Turning has launched three new comprehensive consulting programs branded TurnItUp! that take advantage of its student response technology in order to maximize student learning and improve student, classroom, building and district performance.  The three programs, available for all grade levels, are as follows:

·         Turn Up Achievement: a comprehensive school improvement initiative designed to create measurable increases in student achievement. 

·         Turn Up Learning: a three-tiered problem-solving Response to Intervention (RTI) Program for schools committed to identifying instructional needs and intervening with evidence-based practices.

·         Turn Up Engagement: a systemic and research grounded approach to increasing student engagement through a multi-discipline integration of educational gaming in core content areas and teaching 21st century skills using game design curriculum aligned to ISTE standards.

All TurnItUp! programs are grounded in the learning theories of Stiggins, Schmoker, Marzano, Epstein, Dede, and Prensky and are based on active learning, formative assessment, differentiated instruction and data-driven decision making.  Turning’s programs are scalable, replicable and promote school/district autonomy through establishing individualized learning communities. Each program begins with a three-day workshop and easily becomes self sufficient once the implementation process is completed.

 

Professional Development and Summer Workshops
In order to equip educators to take full advantage of Turning’s student response solutions, Turning has developed the Click2Achieve Professional Development Program specific for K-12 schools.  Created by educators for educators, the sessions are designed to foster a core group of users and provide hands-on practice and discussion opportunities so that participants immediately create and implement lessons that use existing resources.

 

Click2Achieve is customized based on school or district goals and includes: planning consultation, two days of on-site training sessions, review and instruction of Turning Technologies' student response software and hardware solutions, classroom best practices, lesson creation, and a follow-up webinar. 

In addition to the Click2Achieve Professional Development, Turning is also offering a series of summer/fall workshops designed to assist educators in maximizing the potential of Turning Technologies' student response systems in order to increase student achievement and engagement. Each workshop is designed to include research theory as well as the practicum of implementation. Workshops will be offered in Orlando, Florida during June, July and August.

 

Source: Turning Technologies, LLC, www.turningtechnolgies.com

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