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March 03, 2009

Table of Contents

Free Resources: NOAA Online Media Library of Ocean-Related Photos and Videos
Learning.com Completes Standards Setting and Validation for Its New 21st Century Skills Assessment
Web Wise Kids Partners with Microsoft on Get Game Smart Campaign
AASL Launches New Web Site
SRA/McGraw-Hill Launches eSuite Classroom Technology for Direct Instruction and Read to Achieve Programs
Saywire Offers Secure Social Networks for K-12 Learning

Free Resources: NOAA Online Media Library of Ocean-Related Photos and Videos

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has launched a new online multimedia library offering public access to thousands of high-resolution, ocean-related photos and videos taken by NOAA scientists, educators, divers, and archaeologists.

 

"This robust online library offers thousands of images from all 14 marine protected areas managed by NOAA," said Michiko J. Martin, national education coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. "Some of these images depict threats and human pressures on marine life in a compelling fashion that we hope will inspire ocean literacy and conservation."

 

Users can access the new media library online at https://marinelife.noaa.gov/media_lib/index.aspx.

 

The National Marine Sanctuaries Media Library is a comprehensive database containing a collection of high-quality still images and video footage featuring all 13 national marine sanctuaries and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The database is fully searchable by keyword, category, and location, and all the images are tagged with relevant information including resolution and usage rights.

 

The media library is part of a continuing NOAA effort to enhance public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the marine environment. It was created to provide a resource for numerous audiences, including students, educators, publishers, conservation organizations, and individuals looking for compelling marine-related images.

 

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, www.noaa.gov/

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Learning.com Completes Standards Setting and Validation for Its New 21st Century Skills Assessment

Learning.com has announced it has completed a psychometric and standards-setting evaluation for its new 21st Century Skills Assessment, giving educators assurance this new assessment provides a valid assessment of students' 21st century skills, aligned to the ISTE NETS-S 2007 standards.

 

Learning.com’s authentic assessment focuses on student proficiency in 21st century skills. It is fully aligned to and provides data for all the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S):
* Creativity and Innovation
* Communication and Collaboration
* Research and Information Fluency
* Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
* Digital Citizenship
* Technology Operations and Concepts
 

Additionally, it is aligned to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Student Outcomes: Information, Media and Technology Skills, and Learning and Innovation.

 

Following a psychometric analysis of 21st Century Skills Assessment, a panel reviewed the assessment questions and set the proficiency levels for both the elementary and middle school versions. The panelists included educators with backgrounds in ISTE NETS-S, and both educators and administrators at the school, district, state and academic levels with deep and practical familiarity with the NETS-S.

 

A team of psychometricians from Learning Point Associates supervised the panel. Learning Point Associates is a nonprofit educational organization that works with educators and policy makers in quantitative research design, educational technology and assessment development.

 

The review followed full beta testing with a statistically representative group of elementary and middle school students from across the nation.

 

The assessment, available with both a pretest and posttest, requires that students demonstrate knowledge in both performance and multiple choice questions, and provides 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.

 

More than half a million assessments have been administered with TechLiteracy Assessment to students throughout the United States since its introduction in 2006. It has won numerous awards, including the prestigious SIIA Codie Award. Schools will begin testing with the new 21st Century Skills Assessment in March. For more information, visit www.learning.com/21skills.

Source: Learning.com, www.learning.com

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Web Wise Kids Partners with Microsoft on Get Game Smart Campaign

Web Wise Kids, a provider of computer-based, interactive simulation games designed to educate young people and their parents on safe internet practices, is participating in a group of major corporations, non-profit organizations, foundations, and industry trade groups that are working to build awareness for the Get Game Smart initiative created by Microsoft.

The Get Game Smart aims to help parents and kids establish healthy habits for playing video games, watching TV, and browsing the Web. The campaign is designed to inspire families to take simple steps to help ensure that young people are using media in ways that are safer, healthier, and more balanced. It will encourage them to participate in a variety of online and offline activities with chances to win Best Buy gift cards, Microsoft products including Xbox 360 and Zune, and more. In addition, families and teens can take part in a nationwide video contest and share their family's approach to setting rules around video gaming and other media use in their home. Selected contest winners will receive a Microsoft product prize package and be asked to collaborate with Microsoft and other influential voices as Get Game Smart Ambassadors.

The campaign website, www.getgamesmart.com, brings current parental control tools, expert tips and resources together online in a one-stop-shop where parents and caregivers can find the information to help them make educated decisions about balanced media use.

Source: Web Wise Kids, www.webwisekids.org

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AASL Launches New Web Site

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has launched  a new web site, www.aasl.org. The goal of AASL's new web site is to highlight the AASL-developed tools and resources for school library media specialists.

 

New features of the web site include two new sections – Standards & Guidelines and Research & Statistics – that hold AASL's most sought-after tools, "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" and results from the School Libraries Count! longitudinal study. The home page features quick links to pertinent information for AASL's top audiences – members, parents, school administrators, and students preparing for careers as school library media specialists. Highlights on the right side of each page direct visitors to key information on the AASL web site, and a home page spotlight will highlight important information and events.

 

Visitors will still find information on upcoming AASL conferences and events; advocacy tools, including the toolkits for school library media programs; premier professional development opportunities, like the Licensed Institutes; and AASL publications, including the new "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in Action."

 

As they navigate the new site, frequent visitors should understand that some of their old bookmarks may no longer work. AASL recommends that visitors use the search function to find the information and update old bookmarks. AASL encourages visitors to report any issues to Melissa Jacobsen, communications specialist, at mjacobsen@ala.org.  

 

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library media services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library media field.

Source: American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org

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SRA/McGraw-Hill Launches eSuite Classroom Technology for Direct Instruction and Read to Achieve Programs

SRA/McGraw-Hill has launched the Direct Instruction eSuite, a set of online tools designed to integrate technology into instruction to save daily planning time for teachers and increase student engagement. A product tour is available online at www.SRADirectInstruction.com.

The eSuite is available with Direct Instruction programs Reading Mastery and Corrective Reading as well as SRA's new adolescent literacy program, Read to Achieve.

The components of online eSuites include:
- ePlanner - Create an academic calendar, preview lesson objectives and materials needed for each day, and check state standards for alignment to each lesson
- Electronic Teacher's Edition - Preview program content electronically and prepare for upcoming lessons by accessing the complete Teacher's Edition online
- Professional Development - Access electronic resources for program training and information, review exercise formats through video and text-based instruction, and facilitate training through electronic presentation
- eInquiry - Provide students opportunities to apply their understanding of concepts through independent and small-group projects using Web site resources
- SmartSort - Determine when program vocabulary words are introduced, produce lists of words used within any range of lessons, enter brief text passages, and instantly view an alignment to all words presented in a program

The eSuite is priced at $60 per teacher for a one-year subscription. Users of Direct Instruction and the eSuites can join an online community to share tips and best practices at http://SRADirectInstruction.com.

Direct Instruction's programs provide a structured learning process that helps students learn "how to learn" while they build specific skills in reading, math, spelling, and language arts, according to the announcement.

SRA Read to Achieve is a new adolescent literacy program for Grades 6-12 from SRA/McGraw-Hill. The program helps boost achievement with explicit reading-for-understanding instruction, the announcement states. Tailored to meet the more complex literacy requirements of middle and high school students, the program specifically targets the challenges faced by adolescent readers and helps teach word-learning and comprehension strategies students can apply to content-area classes. Additional information is available at http://SRAonline.com.

Source: SRA/McGraw-Hill, http://sraonline.com

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Saywire Offers Secure Social Networks for K-12 Learning

Saywire offers a combination of safe social technology and secure permission-based controls designed to provide "walled garden" social learning networks for K-12 schools.

Schools using the customized Saywire platform can select specific students, teachers and faculty members to participate in the interactive networking experience. No one from the public can gain access.

School staffers are assigned as site administrators; they can see the activity on the school network and warn students of the consequences of misconduct. Students can control who contacts them and who can read and reply to what they write and do on the Saywire system. The real names of students and teachers appear; there is no user anonymity.

A variety of features are offered, including blogs, calendars, chat rooms, eNotes, groups, multimedia, pages, profiles and a Homework Help Wall.

An Activity Wire tracks project-focused student activity, signaling team members to edit each other’s work or make their own contributions. This feature alerts students linked in a personal network whenever others post blog content, comment on discussion boards, create pages or upload files. The Activity Wire also provides instant links to professional development materials such as newly-posted lesson plans, a school’s latest performance audit, or a newly-created class wiki page.

The My Network feature provides a personalized list of students and teachers, as well as a straightforward way to stay in touch with frequent contacts. The SayMap! provides a threaded discussion area that visually illustrates how ideas are generated and related. The SayWall offers a place to leave brief messages and share news.

A free Saywire trial is available online at www.saywire.com.

Saywire, www.saywire.com.  

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